Government IT: NASA's Curiosity: How Java, Other Tech Powered the Latest Mars Mission
While NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity successfully landed on the Red Planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is offering mere mortals a chance at experiencing their own Mars landing with a Java-powered simulator. The JPL's Java-based simulator, known as Eyes on the Solar System, takes users through the details of the landing procedure that NASA officials have termed the "Seven Minutes of Terror." The Web-based simulator is available to anyone with a browser and enables users to go back and forward in time to get a better sense of what the Curiosity mission is like. NASA said the one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack. This slide show takes a look at the Curiosity rover from a simulation perspective as well as some up-close images of the unit.