Five Space Video Games to Play Before We Colonize Mars

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We've done it, we've landed a cool robot hummer on Mars. And it's only a matter of time before NASA releases some mind-blowing pictures ... and maybe the sequel to Hubble with a voiceover from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The next level in space exploration has been reached and humanity as a whole will be granted new information regarding the surface to a planet that bears a close resemblance to our own.

Chances are you'll die before we even get a general idea of how to actually go about exploring it, but in the meantime, there's plenty of exploration to do with the help of a controller and a gaming console.

Here are five space games to satisfy your intergalactic appetite:

5. Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program (KSP) casts you in the role of chief engineer, pilot, and designer of an adorable race of green men's first voyage to space. You'll place the rockets, choose the hull, and manually pilot their craft to a vast array of celestial bodies. You'll also die horribly a bunch of times. The game is currently in alpha, and pre-ordering gives you the most recent version of the game.

4. The Mass Effect Series

It'll make just about every list involving space and good video games, but the recently-completed Mass Effect series is just about the best way to pretend we've already met and interacted with aliens. You're cast as Commander Shepard and it's your job to resolve or destroy galactic relations with a variety of alien races and Star Wars ripoffs.

3. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

If you've ever played Sid Meier's Civilization, you'd be familiar with the turn based empire-building strategy game. This time, however, it's about colonizing a planet and dealing with many different computer-controlled alien races that are vying desperately for said planet's resources. The core of the gameplay revolves around the idea that even in space, people will still figure out a space-equivalent for oil. Take that, Avatar.

2. Universe Sandbox

Universe Sandbox is more of a gravity simulator than a video game. It essentially turns the player into a vengeful god, blowing up planets and learning about gravity under fun circumstances. The game simulates all celestial bodies in our solar system, and also sates the real science fix that a lot of modern space games lack.

1. Moonbase Alpha

NASA made their very own game. It's basically an alternate reality where we didn't go broke and NASA had enough funding to set up their moon base. On the way home from a research mission to the stars, you notice an asteroid do some major damage to the preconstructed base. You and a couple of other players will need to fix the station before everyone inside suffocates. The game is a bit slow, slightly cheesey, but definitely a creation from people that know what they're talking about when it comes to interesting space stuff.

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