Blog

Blend4Web, NASA and the Curiosity Rover

2015-08-06

Dear customers and the Blend4Web community!

We are glad to inform you about a remarkable Blend4Web-powered project recently released by NASA. To celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Curiosity, the famous Mars rover, landing on the red planet, NASA has developed a web application to reflect the most prominent moments of this space mission. This app is both very informative and intriguing: you can move the rover, control its cameras and the robotic arm and even take a selfie!

Traveling on the red planet. Click to enlarge.

The purpose and technical specifications of the most important parts of the machinery - nuclear battery, chassis, antennas and others - are displayed in pop-up annotations. The convenience and clearness of such an approach are substantial advantages of interactive content over ordinary video clips.

The robotic arm rigged with a percussion drill, a camera and other equipment. Click to enlarge.

The 3D content is integrated with martian landscape photos linked to locations and events via HTML interface and markers. Seamless integration of these different data types is guaranteed by WebGL as a native browser technology.

A selfie taken on the 868th martian day of the Curiosity mission.

This interative visualization works in standard browsers including mobile ones, and therefore, does not require downloading or installing any components or apps. This proves the feasibility of the web platform both for end users (3D graphics can easily be delivered to the general public) and for developers (write once, run anythere).

We believe that the successful implementation of such an ambitious project marks a significant milestone in the development of Internet technologies in general and WebGL, in particular. NASA's choice to use Blend4Web confirms the importance of the key principles behind the engine: open source, cloud-independence, integration with free and open source Blender.

Comments
16 sep. 2015 11:05
Here is a French version by Gregory Gossellin De Benicourt. Thanks!
14 may. 2016 08:30
Experience Curiosity was selected a winner of the Webby Award (which is also known as "Internet Oscar") in the category "Government & Civil Innovation".
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