At PDC this year Vivek Kundra announced the launch of a new site from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that a couple of folks I work with were heavily involved in (and I got drafted in to help out which was amazing fun).
Tim and Marc from Microsoft, the folks from JPL and the MondoRobot team are very smart. Real smart. Seriously… how often do you get to talk with folks who think nothing about sending robots to another planet just because they’re curious?
Because they understand that kids (of all ages… 5 to 50, 9 to 95) are curious as well they came up with a really smart way to combine that thirst for knowledge with the huge amount of data that they’ve yet to analyze and combine them in fun and new ways.
Hence Be A Martian was born. A site that allows anyone view documentaries on the Mars rover missions, explore the surface, ask questions and help with the process of scientific discovery by looking at images and finding craters or helping line different pictures up… and it’s only the beginning.
The site is presented using Silverlight – which allows a slick user experience – and the data is hosted using the Windows Azure Platform to allow it to support the scale required efficiently.
You can do anything you like without registering, but … if you do register then you can earn points for various tasks to enhance your reputation on the site. You can check out my profile and see how I’m doing.
Oh, and don’t forget… a little curiosity goes a long way. In fact, Curiosity is going to Mars in 2011… by helping map craters today you’re helping improve NASA’s understanding of what the Rover will be facing when it gets there.