Pan around Gale Crater from the safety of your web browser
Let's face it: Unless you've got $500,000 to spare and can wait a few years, you're probably not going to be landing on Mars anytime soon. The best you can manage for now is to follow the exploits of NASA's Curiosity rover, which touched down on the red planet last week. Now you can at least get a little more immersed in the experience thanks to a gorgeous 360 degree interactive panorama created from the first high-res, color photos beamed back to Earth from the vehicle.
Assembled by Andrew Bodrov, the panorama allows you to rotate and zoom a virtual camera mounted smack dab in the center of the Curiosity rover, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory. In fact, you can pan the image down and get an up-close-and-personal look at the $2.5 billion off-road vehicle, which appears completely unfazed by its 35 million mile journey to our planetary neighbor — apart from a little dust, that is.
Curiosity recently had its software upgraded by ground crews at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is currently undergoing a series of systems checks that must be performed in order to determine its reediness to roll out towards Mt. Sharp in a few weeks' time. For now, it's providing us with unprecedented high-resolution views of its new home, where many hope (and some believe) it might find evidence of past or current life during its planned two-year mission.
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