The Digital Space Commons Presents

Drive On Mars

An Educational Outreach Experiment in Driving a Virtual Rover
on a Digital Martian Terrain

To play these worlds:

You must be running IE 5.0 or higher on Windows with ActiveX enabled to visit these worlds. The Adobe Atmosphere Player should automatically install upon visiting the simulations pages. If not visit the Adobe Atmosphere site and install the player. Alternately you can play our Quicktime movies of the simulations below.

Running the Simulation (note that you must be running Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher on Windows and have ActiveX enabled):

Start by clicking on the 3D Mars rover scenario link of your choice below and a new Web browser window will pop up. Wait for the Atmosphere Player application to install in this Web browser window (it should prompt you to accept the installation) and then be patient for the entire 3D environment to load, including the complete rover model. Note that if you have a popup blocker you may have to disable it to get the simulation to work. Click and hold your mouse inside the 3D window and you will move back and forward and side to side in the 3D scene. You can also use the up and down and left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to move around in the 3D scene as long as you have clicked in the 3D area first. Remember that what you are experiencing is a real 3D environment, not a movie, so you control the action and you can play out a different scenario every time.

If the 3D content loads properly, the virtual rover should be sitting all folded up on its lander. Depending on which environment you are in, the rover will automatically begin to deploy, go up onto its wheels and start to drive off the lander toward a nearby "target flag". At this point you can double click in the 3D scene and set the target flag to another spot and the rover will drive toward it. You can also select how you want to follow the Rover, by floating above it or viewing it from many angles, or you can simply move about freely near the rover as it drives. You can also try stopping the rover's automatic driving and driving it yourself. If you bump into the rover it will react as though you are a rock, so be careful not to tip it over! Practice having your rover drive up to a target rock and deploy its RAT (Rock Abrasion Tool) instrument. Try to successfully complete a traverse before the day (called a Sol by the NASA folks) ends and the sun sets and your rover goes to sleep. No worries about the night, the sun will rise again and you will start driving again in Sol-2. Now.. off you go and have fun exploring Mars... Virtually!

If you have any trouble getting the Adobe Atmosphere Player to install visit Adobe's pages on Atmosphere . If you have any comments or suggestions on this experiment, please contact us

Virtual worlds for Simulation

Adobe Atmosphere Worlds By DM3D Studios, a member of the Digital Space Commons

Drive on Mars with Opportunity at Meridiani Planum
Drive On Mars with Spirit at Gusev Crater
Normal View or Larger View
or Larger View (single user)

Drive On Mars from 2002

Drive On Mars Movies!

click here to view movies of the Drive On Mars Simulations

Quicktime and AVI formats

Drive On Mars Image Gallery

DriveOnMars in the News,
around the Web, and at Events around the World

DriveOnMars at CONTACT
Bruce Damer presenting at CONTACT 2004
Read about DriveOnMars in the news, on TV and at events,
also read the news stories about DriveOnMars on the web, click here.

Landing area for Spirit Rover and likely Driving Destinations

Related Project Sites

SimHab/BrahmsVE Project at Ames/RIACS

BrahmsVE Project at Ames/RIACS with DigitalSpace
Simulation of life aboard the Haughton Mars Project FMARS Habitat
(under SBIR and RIACS support 2000-2002)
Digital Space Commons Home Page
Agent iSolutions Home Page (Brahms)

LINKS about Mars and the MER Mission

Link to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab MER pages:
Link to Cornell University's Athena (MER) pages:
Link to the Planetary Society's pages including the Jan 3-4 Wild About Mars event:
Link to the Mars Society's pages:
A Panorama of the Martian Landscape:
Learn more about Atmosphere at