NASA recently released “Moonbase Alpha”, the first game in NASA’s Learning Technologies project. It’s a glimpse of what will eventually become a NASA-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) project.

Earlier this year, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education was awarded a cooperative agreement with NASA for work related to NASA’s MMOG activities. This award was made by NASA’s Learning Technologies Project Office under the Cooperative Agreement Notices for NASA’s STEM program. The Challenger Center team includes co-investigators WisdomTools, a member of the Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond (AMMB) consortium of game developers, and Benedict College and South Carolina State University (both historically black institutions), Florida State University’s Learning Systems Institute, and four Challenger Learning Centers.

NASA released “Moonbase Alpha” on Valve’s Steam network.eek. The game was built on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3. The Army Game Studio and Virtual Heroes, a division of Applied Research Associates and member of the AMMB team built the game.

Moonbase Alpha has single and multiplayer options that allow players to assume the role of an exploration team member in a lunar settlement. According to NASA Moonbase Alpha is proof of a  concept that shows how NASA content can be combined with a cutting-edge game engine to inspire, engage and educate students about agency technologies, job opportunities and the future of space exploration. As such, Moonbase Alpha is rated “E” for

As NASA’s MMOG project develops, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education will participate by providing educational advice and conducting evaluations of the program’s utility and functionality.

More information about Moonbase Alpha including download links can be found at

Information about NASA’s education programs can be found at

According to NASA, “through these agreements NASA will be able to investigate the use of MMOGs and Virtual Worlds to engage elementary and secondary students in STEM related to NASA’s mission. The NASA MMOG will serve as the ultimate research platform for the agency and its education partners to measure how effective MMOGs can be for STEM education and training.”

Daniel Barstow, Challenger Center’s president, said of this award, “This new online game will help NASA deepen its reach across the nation by providing much needed STEM educational opportunities for students, and our role in helping to validate the content with our partners will help to ensure that the game has strong educational content, learning goals, and a balanced evaluation focused on the real-world challenges of NASA’s Earth and space science programs”.

About Challenger Center

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit
About WisdomTools

WisdomTools is a leading serious games and immersive learning company who specializes in the design, development, and evaluation of serious games in STEM education, civics, homeland security, and health and safety. Using research on how people learn as well as advanced learning technologies, they develop a wide range of interactive training and media used in K-12 and corporate education as well as training. WisdomTools is on both the NASA MMO Development Team and the Educational Design/Learning Team. For information on WisdomTools, visit

Carol Pfau
Administrative Assistant
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
300 N. Lee Street, Suite 301, Alexandria, VA 22314