NASA’s next generation rover is due to land next month on Mars, but a virtual version could be landing on an Xbox gaming console closer to home.
The Space Agency has teamed up with Microsoft to release a game that allows players to land their own rover on the Red Planet’s surface, on the Xbox 360 Kinect – by using their body movement to guide
The goal is to capture a bit of the challenge of landing the craft, in what NASA engineers have dubbed as ‘the most difficult robotic landing yet attempted’.
The game is available for download in the Xbox Live Marketplace, and is part of NASA’s efforts to include the public in the Mission.
When the Mars Science Laboratory Mission reaches Mars on August 6, it will lower the Curiosity rover to the surface – using a never-before-used process. The Craft will slow itself using thrusters and a parachute, before gently lowering the rover to the surface, on a so-called “sky crane” of cords.
The high-tech, 900-kilogramme Curiosity rover is to follow up on confirmations of water on Mars by past rovers, and determine if areas habitable to life ever existed on the planet.