The Curiosity rover has been sending back selfies from the surface of Mars for a few years now, but they don’t quite paint the picture of what it’s like to be a robot so far from home.
Fortunately, NASA, using tech from a team at Facebook, put together a nifty interactive panorama to give smartphone users a sense of what it’s like to chill at the foot of some Martian dunes. When you load the below video within the Facebook app on a mobile device, you should be able to rotate your phone to alter the view and get the full 360-degree experience from where the rover sits.
None other than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg re-shared the post over the weekend. He explained that “NASA produced it by stitching together photos taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, using technology created by the 360 video team at Facebook.”
You can also check out the interactive panorama below from whatever device you’re using to read this.
Use your smart phone to explore Mars with me in 360 degrees. #FromWhereIStand
Posted by NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover on Saturday, January 30, 2016
You’ll quickly notice that it’s not quite the same as a virtual-reality experience because it’s basically a 360-panorama rolled into a digital tube with the viewer standing in the center. As a result, there are some perspective problems that make it a little hard to know the size of what you’re looking at from all angles.
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- Mars as seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover (pictures)
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For example, in the selfie Curiosity took last week from about the same spot, what looks like a huge dune in the 360-view is clearly not as tall in real life, but you still get a good sense of the rover’s environment from playing around with the image. You can also look “down” to see the rover itself and its tracks, and there’s also a great view of a Martian mountain in the distance. Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012.
Be sure to keep a lookout for any tiny Martian women or other bits of weirdness as you explore.