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Walk On The Surface Of Mars Thanks To NASA And Google's New VR Experiment

This is the closest many of us will get to the red planet.

23/10/2017 11:43 BST | Updated 23/10/2017 12:45 BST

While Elon Musk and SpaceX might be working overtime to get us to Mars, the likelihood of many of us being able to actually walk on the red planet is slim.

That doesn’t mean technology can’t still transport us the 54 million kilometres needed to actually visit the planet.

NASA and Google have teamed up to create a brand-new experiment that uses virtual reality to actually let us effectively visit Mars.

NASA/Google

Called ‘Access Mars’ the VR experiment uses real images from the Curiosity rover and allows you to visit different locations along the robot’s route as well as learn more about Curiosity’s mission and the planet itself.

The team who worked on it have made sure that it works on just about every device you own which means it’ll run on Google Cardboard, Daydream, Gear VR, Oculus and HTC Vive.

NASA/Google

If you don’t have a VR headset don’t panic the experience also works right here on your web browser allowing you to simply point-and-click your way around.

The 3D landscape was captured using Curiosity’s left and right Navcam and Mastcam. The team at NASA were then able to stitch this information together to create a stereo match which then in turn creates the 3D image.

What’s so cool about this experience is that in addition to being available to the public, it’s actually being used by NASA’s scientific research teams to help plan the rest of Curiosity’s mission and to help them research for future Mars missions as well.

Despite being the size of a small car, Curiosity has only moved just 10-miles in four years.

However in those 10-miles the robot has made some pretty astonishing discoveries about the planet in relation to life outside of Earth, and about the red planet’s potentially habitable past.