Watching: Stunning Video Gives You a Virtual Tour of Mars Rover’s Journey
Welcome to the rover’s crib.
Once a vast lake on Mars, the Jezero Crater is now a dusty depression. Locked inside its rocks is the story of how the Red Planet was once home to active volcanoes, flowing rivers, and potentially ancient life.
Three years ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in the crater and began to explore its features. From orbit, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and European Space Agency (ESA)’s Mars Express Orbiter continued to survey Jezero from above.
Combining data from both orbiters, scientists at the Freie Universität Berlin created a new, virtual tour of the crater. From a bird’s eye view, you can see the spot where Perseverance landed and continues to explore today.
The tour begins by circling the crater before zooming in for a closer look. Features like the dried-up river delta where Perseverance first touched down come into view about halfway through the video.
A distant haze on the planet’s horizon was added in for artistic effect; the ESA notes that it’s not photo-realistic. But Mars is infamous for its dust storms, and haze is not uncommon in rover photos.
The researchers who created the video also published an accompanying interactive hiking tour of the Jezero Crater. They charted out a thin, green line to mark the rover’s path since it first landed, plus panoramic features that can be explored in virtual reality. You can even see Perseverance’s current position.
Zooming in on each feature also plays an audio recording made by the rover during its exploration. Eerie dust storms and lonely mechanical noises are the soundtrack to Perseverance’s life — fitting for one of the only beings on the entire planet.