Nasa is unveiling two new mars simulators online commemorating the 3 year anniversary since the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars on August 6th, 2012. The two online simulators will enable users to view, navigate and experience the surface of Mars. Mars Trek and Experience Curiosity are the two simulators.
Mars Trek is a free online application that provides high quality visualizations of the red planet with the help of data collected by Nasa over 50 years to help viewers study the planet’s characteristics and features. Mars Trek has interactive maps, which include the ability to overlay a range of data sets generated from instruments aboard spacecraft orbiting Mars, and analysis tools for measuring surface features. Standard keyboard gaming controls are used to maneuver the users across Mars’ surface and 3-D printer-exportable topography allows users to print physical models of surface features. Nasa is already using Mars Trek for determining locations for the landing of the next Mars rover in the year 2020.
Experience Curiosity gives the opportunity for viewers to journey along with the Mars Curiosity Rover during its martian expedition. The program lets users take a drive on the martian planet basically simulating Mars in 3D with the help of data from the Curiosity rover and Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter giving a true experience of what its like to be on Mars.
The great thing is that both simulators are available online free to try on any browser. “We’ve done a lot of heavy 3-D processing to make Experience Curiosity work in a browser.” said Kevin Hussey, manager of the Visualization Applications and Development group at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,”Anybody with access to the web can take a journey to Mars”. So go ahead and give it a try!