Updated: February 26, 2021 10:28:56 am
As NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, it has created a huge buzz online among space enthusiasts, who can’t wait to catch images of the Red Planet. Now, a 360-degree visualisation from Mars’ surface has gone viral, leaving many mesmerised with an incredible sky lit with zillions of stars — the only problem is that it’s photoshopped and not real.
Hugh Hou, a videographer from the US who specialises in 360-degree imagery, recently created an artistic 360-degree visualisation and the stunning creation got more than 1.6 million shares on Facebook. To make the experience worthwhile, Hou urged netizens to wear their VR headsets while experiencing “What’s Mars surface looks”. The artist said that the view was created by stitching six individual images taken by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on February 20, 2021.
Although in the long description, the artist explains: “The sky does not represent the real sky from Mars”, it failed to get noticed by most people. As the image went viral, the fact that it was “misleading” and “fake” irked many online, who later commented they feel “cheated”.
“Disclaimer: the original photo does not have the full sky, I edited the sky to have a full 360 experience inside a VR headset like Oculus Quest 2,” he added in a comment. “This is an art,” he clarified again.
Now, in case you’re wondering how it actually looks like to stand on Mars, NASA’s JPL released a video of the high-definition 360 degree view of landing site — the Jezero Crater — as captured by the rover’s colour Navigation Cameras, or Navcams. Unlike Hou’s version, in NASA’s video Red Plant’s sky appears to be misty and in rusty hues.
“NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover got its first high-definition look around its new home in Jezero Crater on Feb. 21, after rotating its mast, or “head,” 360 degrees, allowing the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument to capture its first panorama after touching down on the Red Planet,” NASA wrote in a press release.
The US space agency also released a first picture of the panoramic view taken by Mastcam-Z, a zoomable pair of cameras aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. “The panorama was stitched together on Earth from 142 individual images taken on Sol 3, the third Martian day of the mission (Feb. 21, 2021),” it added in a statement.
I’m taking it all in. This is the first 360º view of my home using Mastcam-Z. This dual, high-definition camera system sits atop my mast and has zoom capability. Inspect tiny details of Jezero Crater with the special interactive viewer at https://t.co/roDhWK56gj #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/TAy28PpG73
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 24, 2021
NASA said that they will use these mast cameras to determine which rocks are worth sampling and which should be collected and returned to Earth in the future.
A key objective of Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
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