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Kinect and NASA Team Up on Mars Rover Landing!

The descent and landing of the rover Curiosity, expected to finally reach Mars on Aug. 5, has been described as “seven minutes of terror” by those at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Mars Rover LogoNASA is not surprisingly filled with space geniuses and several of them video games could be a pretty incredible way to get kids to get excited about science. We were so excited to get the call from NASA and even more excited at the opportunity to work with real astronauts and rocket scientists on Mars Rover Landing, available free on Xbox LIVE today!

To play Mars Rover Landing, players will use body movements, read by the Xbox 360′s Kinect motion controller, to control the craft and attempt to land it safely on Mars. “We’ve tried to simulate that heart-pounding, sweat-dripping seven minutes using Kinect and using users’ control of their bodies to get the landing right,” Microsoft’s Dave McCarthy says.

Mars Rover TouchdownUpon entering the atmosphere of Mars, the craft is traveling at about 13,000 mph. A supersonic parachute must be properly deployed, and the heat shield, which reaches 3800 degrees Fahrenheit at its peak, must be jettisoned during the descent. Rocket engines must be deployed prior to the lowering of the tethered Curiosity rover to the surface. After that, the remainder of the craft must be flown away before the rover lands to prevent a dust cloud that could damage it. Quick reaction, paired with delicate balance is required for you to help the Rover touch down on the Red Planet safely.

Our team, partnered with developer Smoking Gun, worked closely with NASA to create an experience that was scientifically factual while still being fun to play. “We’ve tried to simulate that heart-pounding, sweat-dripping seven minutes using Kinect and using users’ control of their bodies to get the landing right,” Our faithful leader, Dave McCarthy says.

The hope is, like classic arcade titles such as Atari’s Lunar Lander, the Mars Rover Landing will inspire people of all ages to learn a little more about the incredible things we’re accomplishing far, far away… all because of the power of our imaginations.

What are you waiting for? Go download Mars Rover Landing today! Be sure to return August 5th to Xbox LIVE for even more surprises for the big day, too!

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