Walk on Mars through your smartphone

Here is your chance to take a walk on Mars, where users could breathe and walk around freely, all without the burden of a bulky spacesuit.

Curious about the unknown terrains of cold dessert world of Mars, filled with canyons, volcanoes, craters all over it? Want to get a taste of what it feels like being on Mars? Here’s your chance — you can breathe and walk around freely, all without the burden of a bulky spacesuit.

NASA has been offering virtual-reality of Mars for some time. But now with Google’s help, users can experience the actual rusty rocks, bright, chilly and warm surface, all of which were explored first hand by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Google has collaborated with NASA for rolling out a WebVR based website by the name of ‘Access Mars’. This essentially transports users from the realm of imagination to the mind-bending domain of mixed reality. It is crafted using WebVR, a technology that lets users experience virtual reality right in your browser, without installing native apps.

‘Access Mars’ lays out a 3D terrain for five spots scanned by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The tour can be experienced via a desktop browser on mobile devices as a head-tracking display seen through a Cardboard-style viewer, and on virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. NASA says the experience was adapted from OnSight software, which is used to help scientist visualise the rover’s surroundings as they plan its route.

'Access Mars'

"We've been able to leverage VR and AR technologies to take our scientists to Mars every single day," said Victor Luo, lead project manager at JPL's Ops Lab, which led the collaboration. "With Access Mars, everyone in the world can ride along."

Google said that JPL will continuously update the data so that users see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks.

"All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings," Burke added.

(Source: Deccan Chronicle)

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