Ahhhh, space. Isn’t it exciting? With only six hours left before NASA’s latest exploratory rover touches down on Mars’ rustic surface, we’d normally be confined to video feeds from CNN or MSNBC to determine the rover’s progress. But NASA decided to step it up this time around, offering an interactive experience for Curiosity’s last moments.
Unlike Spirit and Opportunity before it, whose objective was to study the planet’s geology for evidence of water (or Sojourner, whose objective was simply to be a cheap rover on Mars), Curiosity will be studying the planet’s climate and help determine the feasibility of future human missions. The Java-based app not only allows you to follow the rover’s arrival live as it happens (through simulation, natch), but also lets you advance through the landing cycle and see each stage as it happens, complete with fully-awesome skycrane drop. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.