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Mars Rover Curiosity's Navigation System "Like A Video Game"

sjohnson

Posted August 6, 2012 - By Stephen Johnson

Free Mars Rover Landing Game From NASA Touches Down For Kinect

I don't know about you, but I've been following the launch and touchdown NASA's Curiosity rover obsessively. Watching the ship land safely on Mars, on live TV last night was amazing. While landing on faraway worlds has been a video game staple since Lunar Lander came out in the 1970s, the real world is catching up to games. Curiosity's navigation system has been likened to a video game by Brian Cooper, the lead driver for MSL Curiosity, and it uses techniques that are familiar to any gamer.

Cooper designed the navigation system, that uses 3D technology to allow earthmen to "step into" the martial atmosphere and plot courses for the rover. The instructions are then sent to Mars, and combined with the rover's onboard hazard detection systems, Curiosity can move around and, hopefully, discover alien life forms (or at least interesting information about Mars.)

"It's almost like a video game, Cooper said in an interview with Gizmodo. "We can put on a 3D goggle, and with the shuttered goggle and stereo monitors, we can see from the cam's point-of-view what it's like to be on the surface of Mars."

"It would be great if you had a giant martian dinosaur bone sticking out," Cooper said. "Even though that's not feasible, you never know. You never know what you might find."

Go, science!

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Mars Rover Curiosity's Navigation System "Like A Video Game"
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