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NASA Curiosity Simulator Lets You Drive Around A Virtual Mars

06/08/2015 12:11 BST | Updated 06/08/2015 12:59 BST

NASA has unveiled Experience Curiosity, a free online web application that lets you drive the Curiosity rover around the surface of the red planet from the comfort of your own home.

curiosity

Developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the application lets you take control of a virtual Curiosity rover and drive it around a 3D simulation of the Martian surface.

Wisely understanding that the human attention span is rapidly decreasing NASA's robot will respond to your commands at 20x the speed that it normally would.

The application also features in-camera views so you can see things from the perspective of the rover's own cameras. You can also learn about NASA's intrepid rover by clicking on various parts of its anatomy.

NASA has also unveiled Mars Trek, a 'Google Maps' style application that provides a comprehensive map of the currently explored Martian surface while also showing real-time locations of NASA's multiple satellites that are orbiting the red planet.

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To help make things easier NASA has built the tool around standard gaming controls so you can easily move around the map.

There's even a 3D printing tool allowing you to export actual 3D models of the Martian surface and then print them using a compatible 3D printer.

The hope is that by offering these easy-to-use tools NASA can both educate and incentivise even more young people (and adults) into learning more about space exploration and the important work that the organisation does.