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Interactive Mars panorama: As close as you'll get to being there

Get a feel for what a vacation to Mars would look like with a moveable 360-degree view stitched together from images sent back by the Curiosity rover.

Mars panorama
Take a visual trip to Mars. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

My brother sometimes threatens to run away and join the eventual one-way human mission to Mars. He can get a better idea of what would await him by checking out an interactive, panoramic view of the planet as seen by the Curiosity rover.

Panographer Andrew Bodrov posted an explorable image of Mars to 360Cities. This is what it would it would look like if Google had been able to attach a Street View camera to the rover.

You can zoom and rotate the image to get a detailed, immersive view of the rocky surface, horizon, and the rover itself. It's the next best thing to being there, but without the crushing cold and lack of oxygen.

The impressive panorama is stitched together from images sent back by Curiosity. You can even count the pieces of debris scattered on the rover's top.

I recommend closing your curtains, turning off all the lights, queuing up David Bowie's "Life on Mars?," and turning on the full-screen mode.

Rover panorama image
The Curiosity panorama will also connect you to a Spirit rover panorama, where this tracks image comes from. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

(Via Boing Boing)