Kinect Game Lets You Land NASA’s New Rover on Mars | Wired Science | Wired.com
A new free Xbox game gives anyone the chance to steer through seven minutes of terror and attempt to safely land NASA’s newest rover, the Mars Science Laboratory.
MSL, which is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet the night of Aug. 5, is a car-sized nuclear-powered roverdesigned to search for signs of life on Mars, past or present. It is the largest robot that engineers can currently landon the Martian surface and its descent from space includes a complex list of events that have to happen perfectly to ensure success.
After entering the top of the Martian atmosphere, MSL will use its heat shield to slow down to slightly above Mach 2. It will then deploy the largest supersonic parachute ever used on an interplanetary mission to get to landing speed. Once the parachute is jettisoned, the spacecraft will fire up rockets and slow down even further. A UFO-like platform will gingerly lower the rover down on wires until, about 25 feet above the surface of Mars, MSL will be placed on the ground, hopefully ready to roll. Once it has brought its quarry to the ground, the platform will fly off and crash far from the rover to prevent any damage.