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Astronauts may return to 'Fortnite' in Chapter 2 Season 3

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First there was a rocket launch. Then a black hole. And now, after what promises to be an epic flood, astronauts may be launching back into Fortnite. 

As the clock counts down to the launch of Fortnite's Chapter 2 Season 3 (opens in new tab) on Wednesday (June 17), two images are hinting at the return of astronauts to the battle royale game. Released Monday, the images are actually different views of the same picture and appear to show a spacesuit-clad astronaut holding a small, round mini-moon. 

The folks at Epic Games, makers of Fortnite, shared one image via Twitter, revealing a close-up of the moon (opens in new tab). A second, wider view was released in the Fortnite game itself as a promotional screen for the Chapter 2 Season 3 launch on Wednesday. That image revealed that the moon was being carried by an astronaut (opens in new tab) in a spacesuit.

Related: Just how accurate was Fortnite's chapter-ending black hole? (opens in new tab)
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Fortnite Season 3: Start date, event, map and battle pass details (opens in new tab)

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I'm a sucker for awesome space stuff in video games, so the potential for astronauts returning to Fortnite is pretty exciting. They first debuted in 2018 during Chapter 1 Season 3 Battle Pass (opens in new tab), and I must admit that I missed out on them at the time. 

Since then, we've seen live events in the game that have included a comet, asteroid impacts, two rocket launches and a massive black hole that swallowed up the Fortnite map to end its Chapter 1 in October 2019.

The astronaut images come amid a flurry of teases from Epic Games that include an adorable kitten (opens in new tab) and a shiny, gold trident (opens in new tab), all of which set the stage for the Chapter 2 Season 3 launch this week. On Monday, Fortnite held a record-setting event to end Season 2. Called "The Device," the event destroyed the central Agency location and transformed the game's harrowing purple storm into a towering ring of water. 

Our friends at PC Gamer have a rundown on the Device event (opens in new tab), and our friends at Games Radar reveal that Epic Games saw a mind-boggling 12 million players log on (opens in new tab) for the event. 

Will astronauts save Fortnite's battle royale island from a devastating flood in Chapter 2 Season 3? Only time will tell.

Fortnite's Chapter 2 Season 3 launches on Wednesday, June 17. 

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.