NASA has two interactive tools that enable the public to follow its Mars Perseverance rover as it makes its way around the Red Planet. One of the tools is designed to follow the rover “as though you were standing on the surface of Mars,” according to the space agency, while the other tool shows Perseverance and Ingenuity’s current location and the stops from their past journeys.
The interactive tools are called “Explore with Perseverance” and “Where is Perseverance.” The first of the two tools show where Perseverance is located, the places it has drilled, and a route where it previously went. The tool also provides the option to see the actual Martian landscape as viewed from the rover’s navigation cameras.
The second tool, “Where is Perseverance,” is more of a map, making it easy for the public to see where both the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter have previously navigated on Mars, as well as their current location. Users are able to filter for different regions, including looking only at the rover’s path, only at the helicopter’s flight path, and other things like waypoints and rover position.
The “Explore with Perseverance” tool is the most interesting of the two, offering a video game-like experience with a fully detailed 3D version of the rover and the Martian landscape around it. NASA paid attention to the small details when creating its 3D simulated environment; there are, for example, the rover’s tire tracks visible on the regolith.
These are the latest tools that offer the public access to NASA’s vast trove of data in an approachable way. The space agency likewise provides educational materials for anyone interested in space, its missions, and even for teachers who want to add the materials to their curriculum.