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posted by martyb on Saturday October 21 2017, @09:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the or-in-your-own-basement dept.

When NASA scientists want to follow the path of the Curiosity rover on Mars, they can don a mixed-reality headset and virtually explore the Martian landscape.

Starting today, everyone can get a taste of what that feels like. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, collaborated with Google to produce Access Mars, a free immersive experience. It's available for use on all desktop and mobile devices and virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets. That includes mobile-based virtual reality devices on Apple and Android.

The experience was adapted from JPL's OnSight software, which assists scientists in planning rover drives and even holding meetings on Mars. Imagery from NASA's Curiosity rover provided the terrain, allowing users to wander the actual dunes and valleys explored by the spacecraft. Since being rolled out to JPL's scientists in 2015, OnSight has made studying Martian geology as intuitive as turning your head and walking around.

Access Mars lets anyone with an internet connection take a guided tour of what those scientists experience. A simple walkthrough explains what the Curiosity rover does and details its dramatic landing in 2012. Users also can visit four sites that have been critical to NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission: Curiosity's landing site; Murray Buttes; Marias Pass and Pahrump Hills. Additionally, the rover's latest location on lower Mt. Sharp will be periodically updated to reflect the mission's ongoing progress.

This I would try VR for.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday October 21 2017, @10:50PM

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday October 21 2017, @10:50PM (#585804) Journal

    Too poor for VR, too poor for a ticket to the Musky Breeding Colony? Settle for Google Maps [].

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Bot on Saturday October 21 2017, @10:53PM (2 children)

    by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 21 2017, @10:53PM (#585806)

    Douglas Quaid: Ever heard of Oculus? They sell those fake glasses.

    Harry: Oh, "Oculus." You thinking of getting one?

    Douglas Quaid: I don't know, maybe.

    Harry: Well, don't. A friend of mine tried one their "special offers," nearly got himself lobotomized.

    Douglas Quaid: No shit?

    Harry: Don't fuck with your brain, pal. It ain't worth it.

    Douglas Quaid: I guess not.


    [Quaid points a gun at Dr. Edgemar's head]

    Douglas Quaid: All right, let's say you're telling the truth and this is all a VR experience. I could pull this trigger and it won't matter.

    Dr. Edgemar: It won't make the slightest difference to me Doug, but the consequences to you will be devastating. In your mind, I'll be dead, and with no one to guide you out, you'll be stuck here in permanent psychosis. The walls of reality will come crashing down around you. One minute, you're the savior of the rebel cause; next thing you know, you'll be Cohaagen's bosom buddy. You'll even have fantasies about alien civilizations as you requested; but in the end, back on Earth, you'll be lobotomized! So get a grip on yourself, Doug, and put down that gun!

    • (Score: 2) by rylyeh on Sunday October 22 2017, @12:42AM (1 child)

      by rylyeh (6726) <reversethis-{moc.liamg} {ta} {htadak}> on Sunday October 22 2017, @12:42AM (#585831)

      "Open your miiind...Open your miiiiind"

      O friend and companion of night, thou who rejoicest in the baying of dogs {here a hideous howl burst forth}...
  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday October 21 2017, @11:03PM (2 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday October 21 2017, @11:03PM (#585811)

    There's no way they can simulate the ~0.3g gravity of Mars in your living room.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 21 2017, @11:59PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 21 2017, @11:59PM (#585822)

      Nah, that's easy. Sit in one of those pneumatic chairs and quickly let the air out.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday October 22 2017, @12:10AM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday October 22 2017, @12:10AM (#585825)

        The headline talks of "taking a walk" on Mars with this VR tech. The chair thing is kinda fun (I just tried it), but it's not a simulation for walking.