Virtual Reality helps experiencing Mars walk at home

Mars has always been a planet of surprises and has been the main area of research for scientists. Many space enthusiasts are also fascinated by the mystery that the red planet packs. Owing to its popularity among the people of Earth, NASA and Google have decided to provide Mars lover with an awesome experience, with their brand new Access Mars feature. Google has teamed up with NASA for rolling out this Web VR based website, Access Mars.

Actually, WebVR is a technology that lets users experience right in their browser, without the need of installing native apps. The technology virtually transports users to Mars from anywhere. Although NASA has been offering virtual-reality of Mars for some time, now with Google’s help, users can users can experience the actual rusty rocks, bright, chilly and warm surface, all of which were explored first hand by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

People can enjoy the virtual reality experience of Mars with any of their VR devices like Google Cardboard, Daydream, Gear VR, HTC Vive and Oculus. But in case people do not have a VR headset, still, they can enjoy the Access Mars facility. They just need to open the web browser and simply point and click their way through the images.

NASA said that the experience was adapted from OnSight Software, which is used to help scientist witness the rover’s surroundings as they plan a route. Access Mars’ lays out a 3D terrain for five spots scanned by NASA’s Curiosity rover with the help of its left and right Navcam and Mastcam.

Victor Luo, the lead project manager at JPL’s Ops Lab, which led the collaboration, said that they a have been able to leverage VR and AR technologies to take the scientists to Mars every single day, and now with Access Mars, the general public can take a ride across the red planet. Google said that JPL would be continuously updating the rover’s data so that users could see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks.

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