Rovio's Angry Birds are taking their battle against the egg-stealing pigs into space and NASA is giving them a boost.
The Finnish videogame company unveiled Angry Birds Space on Thursday, the latest installment of the massively popular videogame.
The game, which will be available for download on March 22, was launched in collaboration with the US space agency and NASA posted a video online from a US astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
In the video, flight engineer Don Pettit explains the properties of physics in space by using Angry Birds characters as props. At one point, Pettit fires a red bird down a space station corridor using a makeshift slingshot.
"This collaboration began with a simple Twitter exchange about birds and pigs in space, and it has grown into a tremendous outreach and education opportunity," David Weaver, a NASA spokesman, said in a statement.
"Games are fun and entertaining, but they also can be inspirational and informative."
He called the collaboration with Rovio and Angry Birds "an exciting way to get people engaged with NASA's missions of exploration and discovery, and get students energized about future careers in science and technology."
Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer, said the company wanted to create something "unique" for the game launch.
"NASA has been the perfect partner for our Angry Birds Space program, and we can't wait to work with them on creating more compelling educational experiences," Vesterbacka said.
Rovio said Angry Birds Space features 60 initial levels, new characters and familiar gameplay but with a "unique twist in a variable gravity environment."
"From the weightlessness of space to the gravity wells of nearby planets, fans can have fun with physics as they try out new gameplay possibilities," he said.
"The Angry Birds themselves have also transformed into superheroes, with new costumes and abilities."