Here Rover!

Now you too can get as excited as Sean O’Keefe, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as you drive a US Rover around Mars.

All because the jolly fine fellas at the US Jet Propulsion Laboratory have given us all access to a public version of the primary software tool used by NASA scientists to operate the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Dubbed Maestro, it allows anyone with a computer to view a simulated 3D landscape and drive the Martian Rover around in it. Better yet, you can download the Maestro software for free and use it to follow along with the Rovers’ progress during the mission.

In order to use Maestro, however, your computer must meet the following minimum requirements:

256 MB of memory

100 MB of available disk space

A Pentium 3 or equivalent processor (G3 on Mac)

A 3D graphics accelerator (strongly recommended).

And you’ll need one of the following supporting operating systems:

Windows XP/2000/98/Me

Mac OS X version 10.3 (Panther), with Java3D installed

Linux (recent versions)

Solaris (recent versions)

To download Maestro onto your computer as well as data taken during recent Rover tests, you can go directly to the download site by clicking the link above.

Then, you can check the updates section of the site to obtain more images from Mars as it is released during the mission.

Have fun exploring Mars!

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