NASA has teamed up with Microsoft to release a game for the Xbox 360 called Mars Rover Landing. The Kinect-controlled game will have players attempting to land on Mars through all the three stages of the landing process. And the best part is, it’s free for download. While we don’t imagine Microsoft taking a plunge into space studies anytime soon, it's clear that NASA is on a mission to widen its fan base by teaming up with Microsoft and foraying into gaming territory.

Michelle Viotti, Manager for the Mars Public Engagement Program at NASA, said in a statement, “Technology is making it possible for the public to participate in exploration like they never have before. Because Mars exploration is fundamentally a shared human endeavor, we want everyone around the globe to have the most immersive experience possible.”

Available to Xbox 360 players

Available to Xbox 360 players

Microsoft is also clearly excited at the new partnership. Walid Abu-Habda, Corporate Vice President of Developer & Platform Evangelism at Microsoft, said, “We hope that through partnering on the Mars Rover experience, we spark interest and excitement among the next generation of scientists and technologists.”

Coming back to the game, Mars Rover Landing will enable users to try their skill in landing the rover on the surface of Mars using Microsoft's Kinect motion interface. It's meant to simulate what NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be going through when the robotic rover actually lands on Mars on August 5. The players will have to complete all three stages of the landing and will be rated on how well they perform in each individual phase. 

The complex journey to Mars

The complex journey to Mars

This is not NASA’s first brush with video games. A couple of months ago, NASA released a Facebook trivia game called Space Race Blastoff and an air traffic control app, Sector 33, for iPhone/iPod. While Space Race Blastoff is solely aimed at luring trivia buffs on Facebook, Sector 33 is directed toward a wider base of gaming fans who want some authority as they play a game on their iPhones/iPads.

The Mars Rover Landing game is available for free download in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. So just free up 497 MB of space on your hard disk and be a part of NASA’s Mars exploration program.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,