NASA has devised a clever way to educate the public about their risky landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover: translate the entire experience to Xbox Kinect, and make it a free download.
Mars Rover Landing, which is available as a free download on Xbox Live for Kinect owners, puts you in the shoes of NASA engineers during the purported “seven minutes of terror” that it will take to land the Curiosity on Mars. There are three stages of the unique landing process the Curiosity will use, all of which are simulated in the game. Downloading the game will add a special tab on your Xbox Live dashboard which also holds pictures, video, and more information about the rover.
Before you rush off to grab the free download, be warned: the gameplay sounds pretty difficult. With the Kinect sensor, players use their arms, hands, and body to control the direction, speed, and velocity to set the rover down safely. There’s a very specific sweet spot between those three things that have to be hit in order to succeed. Complete each of the three phases, and you’ll get scored on all three.
As for the landing of the real Curiosity, it’s expected to occur around 10:30pm Pacific on August 5th.