Stunning 360 Degree Visualisation from Mars' Surface Goes Viral. But Here's a Catch

·2-min read

If you have an Oculus VR headset and have always wondered what it would be like to stand on Mars, then artist Hugh Hou has a gift for you. Using footage from NASA’s latest Mars rover, Perseverance, Hou stitched together a 360 degree interactive 3-D view of the night sky as seen from the Martian surface. The result is phenomenal and breath-taking. While you can see the actual video even without the VR (virtual reality) headset, he also posted instructions on how to use the Oculus device to get the best possible result from his work of scientific art.

“MARS Virtual Tour – What’s Mars surface looks like to you?” he wrote on Facebook. The images he used were taken on February 20 by NASA’s Perseverance Navcams. The rover sent back the photos to earth earlier this week and Hou used six of them to stitch this amazing view.

In the same Facebook post, he detailed how to use Oculus VR headset with this image. The post has been shared over 1.6 million times!

First, you would need to “save” the post and add it to your “saved items.” Then you save it on a particular list. He lists Oculus Quest 2 / Quest 1 VR headset as possible devices for use. There will be a “saved” button on the left side of your Oculus homepage menu—click it. Your previously “saved” Mars 360 photo shall be on the list. Then select it and click on “watch.” Once the photo is loaded, there will be an “Enter VR” button on the top left corner. Once you click it, you will be in full emersion mode as if standing on the Red Planet’s surface yourself.

“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. The sky does not represent the real sky from Mars,” he added in the post.

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Alternatively, one can simply copy-paste this Facebook URL on their Oculus browser for easier access.