NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover has been roaming the surface of Mars since 2012. Hundreds of thousands of miles from Earth, Curiosity has spent the last four years gathering data on the Red Planet in the hopes of offering scientists some insight into our planetary cousin.
Most interesting for the non-scientific among us, Curiosity has also been snapping hundreds of pictures during its slow crawl across the rocky landscape. In a recent post on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared an awe-inspiring 360-degree view of Mars from the rover’s perspective.
“This is a neat 360 video from the surface of Mars. You can look around like you’re actually on the planet,” Zuckerberg’s post read.
“NASA produced it by stitching together photos taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, using technology created by the 360 video team at Facebook.”
“This is just the beginning of what we can do with virtual reality and 360 video. Pretty amazing,” Zuckerberg concluded.
Check out the 360 degree picture below:
Facebook has spearheaded the push for virtual reality (VR) and 360 degree content in recent years. Facebook users have started to regularly see more and more 360 degree pictures and videos from their friends and pages they follow.
The pictures and videos allow the viewer to roam around the scene as if they were standing at the site themselves. And while the technology is sometimes a bit glitchy, it is often an impressive visual experience when done right.
Curiosity was sent to Mars by NASA in order to investigate the climate and geology of the planet. Most importantly, the rover is on the hunt for signs of life. NASA hopes to find clues that might suggest the rocky planet hosted some lifeforms during its long history, and perhaps may still be home for microscopic organisms.
Finding signs of the most vital source of life, water, is also an important goal for NASA as they continue to study Mars. Some scientists believe that the planet’s rocky exterior was once home to vast oceans, similar to Earth’s own.
Furthermore, NASA hopes that through Curiosity’s mission, they might get a better understanding of what it will take to send humans to Mars.
Originally intended to conduct its mission during a set amount of time, Curiosity will now live on Mars indefinitely. The rover is still operational and continues to be a critical tool for NASA.