Thanks to Facebook's new(ish) 360-degree video feature, the team at NASA has released a pretty sweet video of Mars, stitched together from images taken by the Curiosity Rover. Curiosity is one of the two remaining rovers dedicated to exploring Mars, and has recently been examining sand dunes on the Red Planet.
The Curiosity Mars Rover's Facebook page was the first to release the video on Saturday, and it was shared the next day by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who commented, "This is just the beginning of what we can do with virtual reality and 360 video. Pretty amazing." True, but it's also kind of amazing that there are rovers on Mars.
Either way, it's an impressive sight: by clicking around, you can take in a 360-degree view, as if you are the rover itself. Surrounded by sand dunes, you click up and see an eerily clouded sky and the characteristic ghostly feel of a desert. The images are remarkably clear, having been captured on the Mars Hand Lens Imager, which Curiosity holds in one of its robotic arms.
NASA also released a two-dimensional shot that is composed of the same images, and reads like a selfie taken by the rover (ladies, he's single). The dune in the background of both the image and the video (depending on your perspective) is the Namib Dune, near the southmost point of the rover's route.
You can follow the Curiosity rover on Twitter, where it has taken on a very human character. However, a warning: it sounds a little lonely.