Explore 'Mars on Earth' in Google Street View

You don't have to be an astronaut to check out the closest thing to the Red Planet on the Big Blue Marble.

Devon Island is the most similar terrain on Earth to that of Mars. 

Becoming an astronaut isn't a quick or easy task. But you now can stroll around Earth's version of Mars -- Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic -- via Google Street View, the search giant said Monday in a blog post.

No space suit required.

Devon Island is the red pin.

Google Maps

In Street View, the vast, barren, rocky landscape of Devon Island stretches far and wide. Low clouds rest above the horizon. You can see tracks from ATVs. Those tracks mostly belong to a team using the island to prepare for future Mars exploration.

Pascal Lee, chairman of the Mars Institute and director of the Haughton-Mars Project, and his team have been experimenting with technologies on Devon Island to anticipate what will be needed on Mars. 

For example, an aircraft would have difficulty in the dense atmosphere so drones would be preferred. Bumpy landings must also be expected.

Devon Island looks so much like Mars that future astronauts may feel right at home on the Red Planet.

"My guess is that the first people who land on Mars will say something to the effect: 'Oh wow, this looks just like Devon Island where we trained,'" Lee said in a video.

Reaching Devon Island, the world's largest uninhabited island, takes three days and seven flights -- or one click on Street View.

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