The developers behind the successful indie game Kerbal Space Program have joined forces with NASA to bring official content on board.

As a result, the developers at Squad will bring rocket parts and a new Asteroid Redirect Mission, sanctioned by NASA, to Kerbal. The mission shares the same moniker as a NASA initiative, one that began last year and concludes in 2022, with a manned mission visiting an asteroid. The main difference in the game, obviously, is that Kerbals will do the exploring, and conduct research on asteroids.

For good measure, the expansion will also include “nearly a dozen new parts,” including fuel tanks and a robotic grappling device.

In addition, attendees at SXSW next week will be able to check out a panel titled NASA and Kerbal Space Program: The Asteroids Mission In Real and Virtual Worlds, in which “NASA scientists and KBP developers will swap stories and share details about how the mission in both the real and virtual worlds is going to make a meaningful impact on how we view our place in the universe.”

“The collaboration with Kerbal Space Program can help drive interest by future explorers in next-generation technology development and deep space exploration,” said Bob Jacobs, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for communications. “Having an element of the experience based in the reality of NASA’s exploration initiatives empower players to manage their own space program while getting valuable insight into the reality of studying asteroids as a next step in getting to Mars.”

There’s no word yet on when the expansion will release.

Source: Polygon