NASA 'Astronaut' MMO aiming for iOS, PC beta

NASA'a plans to make an educational space MMO may finally turn into reality. Titled "Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond," the official NASA MMO is set in the year 2035, and takes players to Mars, the asteroid belt, and the outer planets. "You will uncover secrets about a threat to civilization as we know it, and build you and your team a high-tech inventory of space gear including a home base, somewhere out there," the pitch reads.

The developers at Project Whitecard are calling Astronaut a "once-in-a-lifetime project." While there are ambitious plans to release both an iOS and PC beta--running on Unreal Engine 3, nonetheless--the team has a speed bump to overcome. The team needs money.

To fund development, the developers are using Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced fundraising service. Contributors will all receive access to the beta, scheduled for December 2012, along with a variety of other bonuses. Access to the beta will be granted with a minimum $10 donation.

Whitecard is looking to raise at least $50,000 through Kickstarter, and notes that a "matching government tax credit" will match all donations up to $700,000. Unfortunately, the project has only received about $4,000 worth of pledges so far, placing NASA's plans to virtually send us to space on shaky ground.