Getting Started with Minecraft Java Edition

Project WHIMC hosts an open-source Minecraft server for free use as a core part of our research. It is a collaboration-oriented exploration [no PVP] server for players who want to learn more about astronomy, exoplanets and building habitats in extreme settings.

Step 1: What is Minecraft?

Not sure what Minecraft is or how it works? 👀 Some resources to get you started:

New to Minecraft? Never played on a computer? This video walks you through creative mode controls
Get started with this comprehensive PDF created by the Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences
Some recommended settings to help you get the most out of the immersive WHIMC server experience
A video showing you how to control a 3D interactive game like Minecraft with the “WASD” keys

Step 2: Get Minecraft

We use Minecraft Java Edition because it has a huge community of creators and astounding repertoire of extensions that can enable powerful and robust learning experiences. You can purchase it for OSX (mac) or Windows (PC) for about $29 or participate in one of our camps to borrow one of our accounts for free.

Instructors may wish to use Multi-MC along with an instance with built-in tools for world modification and navigation. Follow the instructions here.

Only have an 📱iPad or 💻Chromebook? 

Sorry iOS, phones, Xbox, Switch and non-computers run Bedrock Edition and can't use our server. Check out Minecraft Education Edition to find many tutorials and guides great for introductory learning for these simpler platforms. We hope to release our own education edition series soon!

Don’t have Minecraft? Can’t play the Java Edition? The PBS Nova Exoplanet Lab runs on any web browser and is a great solo activity alternative to learn about space exploration. It features real live scientists that you can meet on our server and alien rescue operations!

Step 3: Join the server!

Head on over to

(Optional) Step 4: Install via Multi-MC for a better experience