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Google now lets you take a virtual walk on Mars

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Washington, Oct 20: If you are curious about the unknown terrains of the Red Planet, here is your chance to take a walk on Mars for free all the while staying in your living room, thanks to Google’s immersive experience initiative Access Mars.

Google collaborated with NASA to produce Access Mars that lets users wander the actual dunes and valleys explored by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

“The experience is built using WebVR, a technology that lets you see virtual reality right in your browser, without installing any apps. You can try it on a virtual reality headset, phone, or laptop,” Ryan Burke, Interactive Producer at Google’s Creative Lab wrote in a blog post late on Thursday.

The experience was adapted from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s OnSight software, which assists scientists in planning rover drives and even holding meetings on Mars.

Imagery from NASA’s Curiosity rover provided the terrain.

“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.

“With Access Mars, everyone in the world can ride along,” Luo said.

Since being rolled out to JPL’s scientists in 2015, OnSight has made studying Martian geology as intuitive as turning your head and walking around.

Access Mars lets anyone with an internet connection take a guided tour of what those scientists experience.

A simple walkthrough explains what the Curiosity rover does and details its dramatic landing in 2012.

Google said that JPL will continuously update the data so that users see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks.

“All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings,” Burke added.(IANS)

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NASA Reveals First Person on Mars ‘is Likely to be a Woman’

NASA has come a long way since 1978, when the first six women joined NASA's astronaut corps

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NASA will also have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. The spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the US space agency. Pixabay

The first person on Mars is ‘likely to be a woman’, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has said.

“It’s likely to be a woman, the first next person on the Moon. It’s also true that the first person on Mars is likely to be a woman,” CNN cited Bridenstine as saying on a science and technology radio talk show “Science Friday”.

The NASA administrator did not identify a specific person but said women are at the forefront of the agency’s upcoming plans.

NASA will also have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. The spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the US space agency.

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NASA has come a long way since 1978, when the first six women joined NASA’s astronaut corps. Currently, women comprise 34 per cent of its active astronauts, according to the agency. Pixabay

“So these are great days. We have the first all-female spacewalk happening this month at the end of March, which is of course, National Women’s Month,” Bridenstine said.

Both McClain and Koch were part of the 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women. They came from the second largest applicant pool NASA has ever received — more than 6,100. The most recent class of flight directors was also 50 per cent women, NASA said.

 

ALSO READ: NASA’s Future Scientists Would Likely Be Better Equipped To Study The Lunar Material

NASA has come a long way since 1978, when the first six women joined NASA’s astronaut corps. Currently, women comprise 34 per cent of its active astronauts, according to the agency.

“NASA is committed to making sure we have a broad and diverse set of talent and we’re looking forward to the first woman on the moon,” Bridenstine said. (IANS)