Because we can’t yet set foot on Mars, the best taste of the Red Planet we have access to comes in the form of videos. Such as this first-ever video from a flying aircraft on Mars, for example. Or the 360-degree view of Mars’ dusty surface taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover, immediately below. You can watch it in 4K, and if you turn on the sound too, you may be able to transport yourself briefly to another planet.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently posted the new glimpse of Mars’ surface to its YouTube channel. The space agency notes it used the rover’s Mastcam-Z to capture the images, which is a multi-color, stereo imaging system. One that’s able to capture and record light in “human-like” red, green, and blue colors.
Viewers who toggle their way around the video will see various highlights from the Van Zyl Overlook; the spot where Perseverance perched itself to watch the Ingenuity mini-helicopter perform its test flights. Looking toward the northwest of the site—which is in the planet’s Jezero Crater—however, seems to provide the bulk of the exciting stuff. Including both a look at the Ingenuity mini-helicopter on the ground, as well as its plot of airfield. Plus the rover’s debris covers, which would just be street garbage here, but look magical on another planet!
The way Perseverance was able to capture the video is almost as cool as the video itself. JPL says the 2.4 billion-pixel image consists of 992 individual images that project participants have stitched together. The images are from separate days as well; the images of Mars were sourced from April 15 and 26 of this year, and the rover itself from March 20. JPL also says it digitally smoothed and expanded the sky based on the actual sky color observed as the panorama was being acquired.
For anyone now hankering for more Mars videos, there is, of course, a whole trove out there. You can watch the wild ride that is the Perseverance landing from space, for example. Although while it’s quite a thrill to watch, we can’t help but imagine what it could (or will?) feel like to land on the Red Planet for real.