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NASA Celebrates Curiosity's Fourth Year On Mars With a Game (engadget.com) 35

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Engadget: In honor of Curiosity's fourth year on Mars, NASA has released a game. Engadget reports: "The glitch that shut down Curiosity in July was thankfully a temporary issue, else NASA would have mourned its loss rather than celebrating the rover's fourth year on Mars by releasing a game. It's simply called Mars Rover, and it's probably your only chance to pilot Curiosity. Mars Rover has a pretty straightforward gameplay -- you just have to press arrow keys to drive the vehicle and find underground pockets of water -- but it's harder than it seems. The virtual rover's wheels crack and break if they slam hard against rocks or heels, and when they do, it's game over. NASA derived these mechanics from Curiosity's actual mission and experiences on Mars."
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NASA Celebrates Curiosity's Fourth Year On Mars With a Game

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  • People used to test their shit in multiple browsers. Now people just assume that if it works in Chrome it's done.

    FF does nothing.
    IE works mostly but the game will get stuck at certain points and you won't be able to use the interface or the shortcut keys to restart it.
    I assume Chome works.

    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by burbilog ( 92795 ) on Saturday August 06, 2016 @04:05AM (#52654865) Homepage

      People used to test their shit in multiple browsers. Now people just assume that if it works in Chrome it's done.

      No. People used to test their shit in IE 6.0 and assumed that all screens are 1024 pixels wide.

      Nothing changed, really.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      FF does nothing.

      Works fine in Firefox, actually, I was playing it there. Had a few scripts you had to enable (I use NoScript) but there was nothing particularly sketchy about the ones you enabled...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People used to test their shit in multiple browsers. Now people just assume that if it works in Chrome it's done.

      Nah, we still test in Internet Explorer and other browsers people actually use.

      Firefox's basic problem is two-fold: first, its shrinking market-share, and secondly, its just compatible enough with Chrome that it's not worth testing specifically in Firefox.

      The basic process these days is "design in Chrome, test in various IEs, ship." If it breaks in Firefox - who cares? The remaining Firefox users are the types who likely have another browser installed they can - and will - use instead. They're the types wit

  • So that its engineer can go organic farming, or raising koalas and making cute mobile games.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It's called marketing. For NASA to release games is about helping recruit new employees, children who plan their future around joining NASA. Promoting public interests also reassures citizens of value for their investment into a future in space.

      This game however is not very good in that regard as it is not very sciency, NASA shoul endeavour to ensure the games they release to promote interest, promote interest in science, in space exploration and space settlement.

      So say, managing a space station, suppli

  • by Mister Transistor ( 259842 ) on Saturday August 06, 2016 @05:47AM (#52655027) Journal

    This looks almost like William's Moon Patrol arcade video game! It used to be one of my favorites from the 80's...

  • "...but it's harder than it seems. The virtual rover's wheels crack and break if they slam hard against rocks or heels, and when they do, it's game over. NASA derived these mechanics from Curiosity's actual mission and experiences on Mars."

    Well that's certainly one way to crowdsource the next Dominic Toretto to work for NASA.

    How fast can you go from zero to Enders Game...

  • Why does a game like this need to have access to all your contacts? I'll load it when I can block this kind of nonsense.

  • The virtual rover's wheels crack and break if they slam hard against rocks

    Really? That's the best wheel your NASA money could come up with?

    • The problem is more complicated [planetary.org] than that sentence makes it sound. Over time (Curiosity's been there for ~4 years now) the wheels accumulate damage when they drive over rocks. This accumulation is faster than they'd predicted based on years of experience with Spirit and Opportunity, because of the larger size and weight of Opportunity and because it's being driven over much rockier terrain than the earlier rovers.
      Based on the accumulation of damage after 1-2 years they had to alter the mission plan somewhat

  • How well does the game model the latencies between Earth and Mars? It takes at least ten minutes for a signal to travle from Earth to Mars. Or are they using subspace?

  • As a US taxpayer, I helped pay for this. Where is the source code so I can learn from it or make it better/different? NASA and other US government agencies have a long track record of paying a lot for programs made by third-parties that are not made available under FLOSS licenses.

  • Why post a link to an article that talks about the game when you can just post a link to the fucking game and save everyone some time and sanity?
    • You know, that's exactly what I thought. But this being slashdot, and me being about 3 days behind on my reading, I expected that someone would have provided the link. Instead of just complaining about the lack of a link. So, here's the link [nasa.gov].
  • So let me see if I understand this game:

    1. Left/right do not move you left and right; they tilt your front up and down.
    2. Up and down do not tilt your front up and down, so you can maneuver around rocks and potholes; they move you forward and backwards.
    3. Although the real rover is driven slowly, and you can pause and think, this is an arcade game, and as soon as you start moving, you have to maintain at least 55 MPH or you go kaboom.
    4. Your forward vision is artificially restricted to barely a second of mo

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