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Explore Mars with these new NASA simulators

Web applications bring users even closer to the Red Planet

NASA

NASA has released two online applications that bring users closer to the surface of Mars. The first, Mars Trek, compiles 50 years worth of data to create a 3D visualization of the Red Planet's surface, which you can explore directly from a web browser. NASA is currently using the application to help determine where it could land the next Mars rover in 2020, and will use it to plan a human mission to the planet the following decade.

A second application, Explore Curiosity, puts users behind the wheel of NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012. The simulator lets users "drive" around Mars using manual controls and from multiple camera angles. Both are available online and are compatible with any browser. "We've done a lot of heavy 3-D processing to make Experience Curiosity work in a browser,"  Kevin Hussey, manager of the Visualization Applications and Development group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. "Anybody with access to the web can take a journey to Mars."