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"Kinect" With NASA's Latest Mission: A Mars Rover Landing Simulation

On Sunday evening (just a half hour beyond 4 days away, as I type this, in fact), NASA's latest Mars rover, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, aka "Curiosity"), will hopefully navigate to a successful landing on the Red Planet (PDF). The 11-minute video above, brought to you by the JPLnews YouTube channel, depicts key events in the rover's planned mission. As you can see, the landing (far from the rest of the rover's assignment) is no "walk in the park" (or if you prefer, rock garden).

If you'd like to take a turn at the controls for yourself, Microsoft has partnered with NASA to produce a free Kinect motion-controlled game now available at the Xbox Live Marketplace. More coverage of "Mars Rover Landing" comes from the following online sites:

On Sunday evening (PT), Microsoft will also serve up a live video feed of the 7-minute landing (for those of you not near Times Square), as will NASA TV, in both cases delayed by the 14-minute Mars-to-Earth broadcast latency. Yes, your math is correct; by the time we here on Earth know whether or not the landing has been a success, "Curiosity" will have (hopefully) already been safely on the surface of Mars for 7 minutes. In advance, you can watch a short-and-interesting documentary, "7 Minutes of Terror," available through the Xbox 360 Dashboard (and which I've also embedded below).

Also, check out the twin documentaries narrated by William Shatner and Wil Wheaton. Fun and educational stuff!