Xbox and NASA?

Yep. It’s true, Xbox has partnered with NASA to bring a Mars Curiosity game to the Xbox Kinect platform.  The game simulates the “seven minutes” of terror, the landing. According to Jeff Norris of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the game shows what scientists will be going through on the night of August 5th when the rover lands on the red planet.

The game begins with the Rover entering the Martian atmosphere; using body movements the player tries to control the descent. Another words….

The game simulates the three stages of Curiosity’s landing, which includes taking the craft from 13,000 mph to about 1.7 mph.
redOrbit (

I think kids will like it, I liked it. I tried it out the other day. You can download it for free from Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace.  It was intense and of course it took me a couple of tries to figure it out. I think kids will like it when they try it out, and it does give them a perspective on how much engineering is involved in the landing. Using your body movements you first tackle the entry into Martian atmosphere. Once you have entered the atmosphere you now have to deal with reducing your speed and dropping the rover on the planet. A bit intense, but fun.  Check out an article that addresses the games concepts.

Land The Mars Curiosity Rover On Mars Through Xbox Live (via redOrbit)

Lee Rannals for – Your Universe Online A game just released by Microsoft gives users an experience that NASA engineers will have to deal with in real life: landing the new Curiosity rover on the Red Planet. Microsoft created the Mars Rover Landing game and made it available for download…

It has become common to find video games relating to STEM concepts. Angry Birds in Space is another example. Rovio and NASA came together to create the Angry Birds in Space mobile game.  I know our physic teachers are using the game to teach different concepts in physics. Actually I’m finding more games are out there, recently a teacher (I meet at space camp, thanks Laura Grimm) introduced me to Moonbase Alpha. The game runs through Steam. You do have to download the Steam program to play the game. It is a bit involved and I’m not sure middle school students could handle it.  I’m a high school teacher and I think they could handle the interface. Each class is different and I would suggest you play the game first and then decide if your class can handle it.  It really does have a good premise behind it. It’s based on the futuristic Lunar settlement. You do need to read the instructions before jumping into the game. Well I did, I’m not sure kids are not a bit more intuitive with games and can figure it out in minutes.  I think I’m going to use this as part of a unit with the Egg drop and Lunar Challenge I obtained from Space Camp.

20120619_0879 Lunar Egg drop target

I know my students love to play games and its fact, most kids do.  Something to look into. If you are interested in reading more about the the Mar’s Curiosity check out the website by JPL.

One final note, my NES summer experience begins soon, keep checking back I will be blogging and tweeting during the whole experience. We head to Langley Research Center. If you want to follow the group and have a facebook account check the facebook page for the experience.


About rippie77

Science Teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh NC.

Posted on July 21, 2012, in Class Ideas, NASA, NASA explorers school, Space Camp, STEM, Teacher Workshop and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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