NASA Introducing "Moonbase Alpha", a 3-D Game Set on the Moon

A meteor strikes, damaging solar arrays and life support systems, and as you watch the billowing dust cloud move ominously toward your lunar camp, you have to restore critical systems and oxygen flow. Starting July 6, a new NASA video game will let you save the day, in 3-D.

NASA is releasing a multi-player game called Moonbase Alpha, wherein players assume the role of a moon exploration team member living in a lunar settlement.

Gamers will have to get used to running with a moon-bounce loping gait while wearing a bulky moon suit -- atypical for first-person video game missions. You can play alone or with a team.

The game includes VOIP chat, text chat, and pretty cool 3-D graphics. It's only supposed to take about 20 minutes.

NASA's Learning Technologies division built the game to prove the space agency can make cool video games that will inspire kids. Ultimately, the game could be used in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs.

And if Congress decides to end NASA's moon-return program, this might be the only way to have a lunar adventure.