As Curiosity, the car-sized robotic rover exploring the Gale crater on Mars, marks its fourth anniversary since landing on the red planet, earth-bound space enthusiasts can celebrate via a new social media game, Mars Rover.
On their mobile devices, players drive a rover through rough Martian terrain, challenging themselves to navigate and balance the rover while earning points along the way.
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, manager of Mars public engagement initiatives at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
JPL collaborated with GAMEE, a Czech network for game-players, to develop Mars Rover. The gaming platform was founded last year by Bozena Řežábová.
Řežábová, whose firm prepared the entire game in two months, recently told Czech Forbes: “Making a game for Rover was our idea, we came to NASA with it and they were excited about it.”
“NASA wanted to keep a lot of details to match reality, for example how to detect underground water or the physics of moving around Mars. We again tried to preserve playfulness and we also wanted to humanize the little Rover. And I think we succeeded.”
Řežábová adds that GAMEE plans to continue developing games with a space theme.
NASA shared the game, which launched last week, with its 17 million Facebook fans.
Get the free Mars Rover app, available for desktop, as well as for Android and iOS devices, here.