NASA has selected 3 development studios to work on the project - Project Whitecard, Information in Place, & Virtual Heroes.
"Players will pick a profession like a roboticist, astrogeologist, astrobiologist or mechanical engineer and work together as a team as they explore space and complete missions, establishing bases and outposts and traveling to the farthest reaches of the solar system," explained Jerry Heneghan, founder & CEO of Virtual Heroes, which has previously worked on the U.S. Department of Defense's "America's Army". "The game will offer both individual challenges & team-based objectives to encourage players to use real-life applications of science, math and engineering to unlock new in-game vehicles, spacesuits, robotics & mining apparatus that will propel them further into space."
A playable demo of the NASA MMO game will be released before the end of this year.
In August of 2012, developer Project Whitecard sent out a press release stating that the game's name has been changed to "Starlite."
Starlite is described as an "adventure game" that takes place in the year 2035, which tasks players with exploring space by going on missions to the moon, mars, and beyond. Many of the player's missions will be based on real-world projected mission scenarios. Project Whitecard has stated that the targeted audience are space enthusiasts and gamers aged 5-24.
Starlite is heavily focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and the game will follow those themes closely. The game is being funded privately by NASA Learning Technology under the "Space Act Agreement." The game will be coming to browsers and mobile platforms. A closed beta and a 20 minute demo called "Starlite Lite" are currently available for use by people who donated to the original Kickstarter project back in 2011.
Also in August of 2012, Project Whitecard announced that they would be partnering with MindArk, creators of the game Entropia. They will be working on a client that will bring MMO projects to "virtually any browser and mobile based platform." It is unknown if Information in Place and Virtual Heroes are still associated with Starlite.