Kerbal Space Program to launch NASA mission pack

NASA may not have as much government funding as it used to, but our dreams of space exploration live on in the Kerbal Space Program. We know it, and so does NASA, apparently, which is going to partner with the game on a special downloadable mission pack.

KSP maker Squad told Polygon that the mission will be one of the most difficult in the game, asking players to land Kerbals on an asteroid. Players will have to launch a ship that can fly next to the asteroid, land on it, then guide it into an orbit around the Kerbal planet without crashing it to the surface and ending all of Kerbalkind.

"I look up to NASA as one of the pinnacles of human achievement," Squad's lead developer Felipe Falanghe told Polygon. "It's not just an American space program. It's an inspiration for all mankind. We have people saying that KSP inspired them to change their majors to aerospace or some other related field... I think that for us we're just experiencing a very small version of what NASA does on a much larger scale for humanity as a whole."

This isn't the first time NASA has turned to video games to raise interest in space exploration. In March of last year, it started the Dark Side of the Jam , a three-day challenge to "help capture the public's interest in the real science and technology advancements being made in aerospace exploration."

Squad is also no stranger to educational initiatives. In October 2013, it launched KerbalEdu , a partnership with TeacherGaming which aims to make KSP available and affordable to schools everywhere.