Ever dreamed of joining NASA in its daring space explorations? Come the 2030s, NASA promises the advent of a new age in this sense.
Until then, the U.S. space agency decided to make all of us willing part of its Mars exploration campaign, by following Curiosity Rover’s tracks through two online resources.
So, hold on to your seat while Mars Trek and Experience Curiosity take you on a ride to the red surface of the planet and invite to become part of
“a new generation of explorers”.
Mars Trek, the free web app uses NASA data to allow in-depth study of Mars surface features. The new generation of explorers is meant to aid NASA’s efforts to pick the sites most interesting for in-depth study. The crowdsourced actions might help land a couple of sites on the landing sites for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.
And, if you are sufficiently dedicated, NASA might just select you among candidates for the first human Mars exploration mission planned for the 2030s in the strategic plan of the space agency.
So, one thing leads to another. Perhaps signaling that a dark lady is gazing into space or a giant crab is trapped in the rocky features will not get you sufficiently far. But exploring the real surface of Mars via Mars Trek is certainly an experience worth living.
Experience Curiosity on the other hand is meant to provide us with virtual rides with Curiosity, all in 3D. Data from Curiosity has been correlated with data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create Mars in 3D and allow users to experience
“a day in the life of a Mars rover”.
Speaking of Mars Trek, the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA, Jim Green stated:
“This tool has opened my eyes as to how we should first approach roaming on another world, and now the public can join in on the fun. Our robotic scientific explorers are paving the way, making great progress on the journey to Mars. Together, humans and robots will pioneer Mars and the solar system”.
Perhaps a little far-fetched for now, these ambitions could become reality in the following decades. Meanwhile, in preparation, enjoy the interactive features of Mars Trek.
From the comfort of our earthly homes, we can navigate through surface features, take measurements, compare data from various instruments and move around by using just the keyboard.
The next Mars explorer could be any of us.
Photo Credits: BBC