Facebook is introducing 360-degree video into its live broadcasting product, starting tomorrow with a broadcast from National Geographic from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. At 3PM ET tomorrow, eight scientists will emerge from 80 days of isolation and it will all be captured in 360 degrees. They are real scientists and they have spent 80 days doing real, valuable science about Mars. Who is going to tell them about the election???
The research station is funded by the Mars Society, a group devoted to making that planet habitable in the likely event that we destroy this one. Since September, a group of scientists has apparently been living inside pods in Utah researching what total isolation from humanity feels like. Not that much different than living in Utah, we would imagine.
The broadcast will include a Q&A with these scientists, so you can ask them about their cosplay and whether, knowing what they know now, they would like to go back inside their pods. Facebook’s blog post says the scientists will also “take a rover out for a spin across the Martian landscape,” which we must unfortunately report as fake news. The research station is in Utah, Facebook! Get it together!
For now, this is a one-off test. Other big publishers will get access to 360-degree video via the Facebook Live API “in the coming months,” Facebook says, and even then you’ll need a special camera and some API knowhow to make it work. The feature will roll out to normal humans sometime next year.
Update, 7:07 p.m.: This article has been updated to emphasize the fact that the scientists in Utah are real scientists doing real science work.