NASA reveals Mars Rover game for Xbox 360

17 Jul 2012

A virtual rover experience and a body-action video game to help immerse people in the Mars Rover landing on Mars in August. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

With NASA’s planetary rover Curiosity on a trajectory for an early August landing on Mars, the space agency has teamed up with Microsoft to launch a new game for the Xbox 360 called Mars Rover Landing. The idea of the game, according to the space agency, is to allow users to take control of their own spacecraft using Kinect.

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is currently on track to land on Mars on 5/6 August – depending on where in the world you are.

The Curiosity rover, which set off on 26 November 2011 towards Mars for an August 2012 landing date at Gale Crater, is using the stars to navigate its flight path.

NASA said that the Mars Rover Landing game will be an “immersive experience” for the Xbox 360 home entertainment console.

The game is currently available to download for free via the Xbox LIVE Marketplace as well as via Kinect Central.

Users of the game will be able to virtually take control of the Mars rover and face the challenge of landing a rover on Mars.

The game will be hosted in the Xbox Live Marketplace and in a special destination on the Xbox Live dashboard dedicated to the Curiosity rover.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the dashboard will also include pictures, video and more information about the Mars Rover mission.

And, for kids, Microsoft Research’s Kodu, a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games, will also be creating a specific Mars experience.

Apparently the aim is to help children learn computational thinking by creating their own video games. NASA said that the Kodu segment has been designed to help students learn about commanding a rover on a quest to make discoveries about whether Mars ever supported life.

NASA space enthusiasts with an Apple iPhone can also access a new augmented-reality experience that ‘projects’ 3D images of robotic explorers.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic