NASA collaborates with Google for 'Access Mars'

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New Delhi, Oct 20: Now everyone can get a taste of what it feels like to be on the Martian landscape.  NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has collaborated with Google to produce 'Access Mars', a free immersive experience.

You can jump from one spot to another, teleport between the five tour stops, or check out explanatory placards that are accompanied by audio narration.

It's available for use on all desktop and mobile devices and virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets. That includes mobile-based virtual reality devices on Apple and Android.

NASA says the experience was adapted from the JPL’s OnSight software, which is used to help scientists visualize the space agency's Curiosity rover’s surroundings as they plan its route. With support from Google’s Creative Labs team, the software was developed using WebVR, an open-source standard.

"We've been able to leverage VR and AR technologies to take our scientists to Mars every single day", said Victor Luo, lead project manager at JPL's Ops Lab, which led the collaboration.

"Immersive technology has incredible potential as a tool for scientists and engineers", Luo said. "It also lets us inspire and engage the public in new ways.

"With Access Mars, everyone in the world can ride along.", he added.

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