Washington: As Curiosity marks its fourth anniversary (in Earth years) since landing on Mars, and continues its exploration, gamers can join the fun via a new social media game, Mars Rover.
With this game on their mobile devices, players can drive a rover through rough Martian terrain, challenging themselves to navigate and balance the rover while earning points along the way, NASA said.
The game also illustrates how NASA’s next Mars rover, in development for launch in 2020, will use radar to search for underground water.
“We’re excited about a new way for people on the go to engage with Curiosity’s current adventures on Mars and future exploration by NASA’s Mars 2020 rover too,” said Michelle Viotti from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
“Using social networks, the user can share the fun with friends,” Viotti noted.
Curiosity landed inside Mars’ Gale Crater on August 6, 2012, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
JPL collaborated with GAMEE, a network for game-players, for development of the game called Mars Rover.
Meanwhile, on Mars the real rover has driven to position for drilling into a rock target called “Marimba,” to acquire rock powder for onboard laboratory analysis, NASA said.
The rover has begun a multi-month ascent of a mudstone geological unit as it heads toward higher and progressively younger geological evidence on Mount Sharp, a layered mountain inside Gale Crater, including some rock types not yet explored.
The mission is examining the lower slopes of Mount Sharp to learn more about how and when ancient environmental conditions in the area evolved from freshwater settings into conditions drier and less favourable for life.
Six of the mission’s 13 drilled rock-samples so far, and two of its four scooped soil samples, have been collected since the third anniversary of landing.
In its four years, Curiosity has returned more than 128,000 images and fired its laser more than 362,000 times.
As of the fourth anniversary, Curiosity has driven 13.57 kilometres.