NASA Releases Breathtaking 360-Degree Video of Mars


Use your smart phone to explore Mars with me in 360 degrees. #FromWhereIStand

Posted by NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover on Saturday, January 30, 2016

It’s gonna be a while before humans set foot on Mars. If you’re betting on NASA getting us there, we’ll have to wait until the 2030s at least — maybe 2025, if Elon Musk’s ambitious plan works out.

In the meantime, you can sort of get a sense of what it feels like to stand on the Red Planet thanks to a new 360-degree video from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover. The video, created by stitching together 57 separate still images captured by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the end of the rover’s robotic arm, was posted to Curiosity’s Facebook page over the weekend. It was quickly re-shared by Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg, who has been bullish on Facebook’s new built-in 360-degree video playing capabilities introduced late last year. As Zuck wrote of the Curiosity 360 video: “This is just the beginning of what we can do with virtual reality and 360 video. Pretty amazing.”

The large, rippled gray blob is a pile of sand. Curiosity has been getting its first looks at active sand dunes on Mars.

Clicking around also reveals, shockingly, that WE’VE ALL BEEN LIED TO AND MARS IS NOT ROUND — it’s tubular. Just kidding. Obviously.

The tube-shaped world is probably the result of a fisheye effect from stitching together footage that wasn’t recorded using a dedicated 360-degree camera. If Zuck is right (and we have no reason to suspect he’s wrong in this case), this is just the start of more glorious NASA 360 videos from the surfaces of other worlds.