Generally speaking, the Xbox 360 is not a tool for education. However, it soon will be. Xbox 360 owners will be able to watch the Mars Rover "Curiosity" land on the planet's surface.
The next time you boot up the Xbox 360 dashboard, you should see a new Mars Rover section. From there, you can check out a slideshow of pictures of the Rover. You can also find out more about the technical side of the mission. You can then test yourself on what you've learned by taking a quiz.
Kinect owners can even attempt their own Mars Rover landing. A free game downloadable through Xbox Live tasks players with guiding the Curiosity to its landing site. You'll use body movement to control the aircraft. By landing safely, you'll earn both Achievements and Xbox Live Avatar gear. The game supports 18 languages, so you can find out how to say "landing" in Finnish if you're so inclined. A couple screenshots are in the gallery below.
"Curiosity" is set to arrive on Mars in the early morning hours of August 6th, EST time. You can find a countdown at Major Nelson's site. Through the Xbox Live hub, players will be able to watch NASA TV and see the final moments before Curiosity touches down.
The rover is expected to explore the surface of Mars for at least 687 days. It will study the climate and geology of the planet and also help determine whether it ever could have supported life. It's a preliminary step toward an eventual human mission to Mars, whenever that happens.
If you want to learn more about Curiosity's mission, check out Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website.