16 Jul 2012

If you are getting excited for the forthcoming Mars Curiosity rover landing and the Seven Minutes of Terror that will precede the touchdown, then head over to your Xbox 360 and get Mars Rover Landing.  The free game requires a Kinect Motion controller and will test your skills on safely landing the Curiosity rover.

NASA is attempting to get people excited about the forthcoming August 5th landing and teamed up with Microsoft to create the game.  "We went to some pains to reflect some authentic details in the game experience," said Jeff Norris of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He went on to say he hopes it gives people a taste of what will happen on August 5th.

The $2.5 billion Mars rover, officially called Mars Science Laboratory, will search for signs of Mars' ability to support life.

Players in the Mars Rover Landing game use body movements to control the craft and attempt to land it safely on Mars.  The game simulates the three stages of the actual landing starting with entering the atmosphere at 13,000 mph.  Users must properly deploy the supersonic parachute and jettison the heat shield on descent.

After this users must use the rocket engines before lowering Curiosity.  Following this phase, the spacecraft must be flown away before the rover sets down to avoid dust particle damage.

Players will use positioning of their arms, hands and body to control the direction, speed and overall velocity of how the rover sets down.  Scoring is based on how well they do each of the three phases.

Some gamers might see a resemblance to the Atari game, "Lunar Lander" from the 1970s.  NASA hopes games such as this one will inspire the next generation of researchers.

Source:  Xbox.com, Usatoday.com


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