Take a virtual tour of Mars on your iPhone or iPad

Those dazzling images captured by Curiosity and stitched together by a panographer look even more amazing when paired with your iDevice's gyroscope.

Good morning, Red Planet! Take an interactive tour by viewing this super-sexy panorama on your iDevice.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

If you've been following the Curiosity rover's progress even a little, you've probably seen the cool 360-degree Mars panorama that hit the Web a couple days ago.

As CNET's Amanda Kooser pointed out, it's "about as close as you'll get to being there."

Now you can get even closer, virtually speaking. It turns out that the panorama works with gyroscopes, meaning that if you view it on your iPhone or iPad, you'll get a much more interactive experience.

Stop listening to me describe it and go do it:

  1. Open up the Safari browser on your iDevice.
  2. Point your browser to this link:
  3. Tilt your screen. Raise your screen. Lower your screen. Turn in place. See what happens.

Are you grinning like a little kid yet? Call me easily impressed (or a little kid), but this takes one of the coolest things I've ever seen and makes it even cooler.

Mars. In full panorama. Moving as I move. I'm in geek heaven.

By the way, you can still pinch in or out to change the zoom. My advice: load up Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (better known as the soundtrack to "2001: A Space Odyssey"), blast it full volume, and imagine yourself standing on Mars.

Then sit down and marvel at what we've accomplished as a species. Rockets. Mars rovers. Mars rovers with cameras. Interplanetary connectivity. And handheld devices for viewing it all. Damn.