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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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VR Mars
Hugh Bollinger

VR Mars

Mapping Mars in Virtual Reality (credit: JPL)

Anyone with a computer and a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles can take a tour of Mars thanks to the engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Collaborating with Google-Maps, JPL has created Access Mars as an immersive, VR experience for everyone.

According to the Lab, their 'new media' platform was adapted from software used for their InSight mission to assist scientists in planning routes for the Curiosity rover to drive. Imagery gathered by Curiosity rover provided [hotography of the terrain, that was now allowing a user to wander around Mars sand dunes, valleys, other landscape being explored by the robotic vehicle. You can focus on objects of research interest, like rock outcroppings and mud cracks, and gain a visceral impression of what Curiosity has viewed on Mars. It is as if you were walking alongside the mobile science lab yourself.

The Perseverance mission to Mars is nearing its own arrival at the Red Planet that will expand further explorations of another Martian landscape. If the robotic vehicle survives the famous Seven Minutes of Terror, expect even more impressive VR experiences of Mars to view soon. Now is time to locate those clunky VR headsets gathering dust and start exploring Mars yourself. WHB

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