How to Follow Curiosity

The NASA Curiosity Rover will land on August 5th. NASA has provided a way to follow along with the show, using a special web based plugin which is set up for Mac and Windows, but not Linux.

As NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity prepares to land on Mars, public audiences worldwide can take their own readiness steps to share in the adventure. Landing is scheduled for about 10:31 a.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6), at mission control inside NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Martian fans can help NASA test-drive a new 3-D interactive experience that will allow the public to follow along with Curiosity's discoveries on Mars. Using Unity, a game development tool, NASA is pushing new limits by rendering high-resolution terrain maps of Gale Crater, Curiosity's landing site, collected from Mars orbiters. A 3-D "virtual rover" version of Curiosity will follow the path of the real rover as it makes discoveries.

By downloading Unity and trying out the experience early, the public can reduce potential download delays during landing and offer feedback on the pre-landing beta version of the experience. By crowd sourcing -- leveraging the wisdom and experience of citizens everywhere -- NASA can help ensure the best experience across individual users' varying computer systems.

Click here to learn more and download it.

I installed it on a Mac. Don't forget that on a Mac, if you are multitasking, the final icon you have to click on when installing something will be found behind your other windows and there will be no indication that it is there. (That probably happens on Windows, too.) Once installed you have this fancy candy 3D looking model of the rover and all sorts of bells and whistles and stuff. It looks fun. I just hope the landing goes well so this isn't the only thing we have to play with after August 5th!!!!

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I saw in another NASA release that the landing time was 10:31 PM PDT, NOT am. That would be consistent with 1:31 AM EDT. But they will probably saw more precisely later.
Gary