Skip to main content

Delightful interactive map of Mars lets you take a wander with Perseverance rover

If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip to Mars and go on a hike with the Perseverance rover, now is your chance. Researchers have created an interactive map of Mars’s Jezero Crater, letting you virtually wander around the planet’s surface and follow the rover’s path.

The interactive map shows data like topography, contour lines, and the rover’s path and current position within the crater. There are also panoramic views marked so you can zoom in and appreciate 360-degree views of the vistas of Mars.

Virtual view from top of the western delta into the crater.
Virtual view from the top of the western delta into the crater. HiRISE/CTX/HRSC

The map was presented at the Europlanet Science Congress 2022 by Sebastian Walter of the Freie Universität Berlin.

“The map is the perfect tool for planning a future visit to Mars, with an interactive interface where you can choose from different available base datasets,” Walter said in a statement. “Some of the slopes are pretty steep, so watch out for those if you want to avoid too much oxygen consumption! To get a real feeling of what to expect on your future Mars trip, you can click on one of the waypoint marker symbols to enter either a fullscreen 3D view or, if you have a Virtual Reality setup, to enter a fully immersive environment. You can even listen to the sounds of the rover if you stand close by.”

The data for the map is a combination of data recorded by Perseverance, like the images from its Mastcam-Z camera and the sounds from its SuperCam instrument, and data taken from orbiters which forms the base layer of the map. This orbital data came from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, both of which are used to capture high-resolution images of the surface.

The map was originally designed for professional scientists, according to Walter, but as they added more data the research team realized it would be fun for the public to access as well.

“Initially we created the Jezero map as an outreach application to complement the HRSC Mapserver tool, which supports professional scientists to explore the Martian surface,” said Walter. “But as the rover returns more and more high-resolution image data and even audio recordings, it turns out to be the perfect tool for immersive visualization of that data in a scientific context by itself.”

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
Perseverance rover finds evidence of an ancient river on Mars
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this mosaic of a hill nicknamed “Pinestand.” Scientists think the tall sedimentary layers stacked on top of one another here could have been formed by a deep, fast-moving river.

The Perseverance rover has been exploring Mars's Jezero Crater as part of its mission to search for evidence of ancient life on Mars. The history of water is key in the search for life, and it is currently thought that Mars lost its water around 4 million years ago. Now, the rover has identified evidence of what was once one of the deepest and fast-flowing rivers yet discovered on the planet.

The rover captured a series of hundreds of images using its Mastcam-Z instrument, which were put together into this mosaic showing a hill structure called Pinestand. In the image, you can see the many layers left behind by the flowing river, which were formed by deposits of sediment.

Read more
Ingenuity and Perseverance snap photos of each other on Mars
The Ingenuity helicopter on the surface of Mars, in an image taken by the Perseverance rover. Ingenuity recently made its 50th flight.

Everyone's favorite Mars double act, the Ingenuity helicopter and the Perseverance rover, have been traveling together recently after spending several months apart. As they explore the site of an ancient river delta in the Jezero crater, the pair have snapped images of each other that were recently shared by NASA.

The Perseverance's cameras caught this great shot of Ingenuity, which, as noted in the rover's Twitter post, is now considerably dustier than it was when it first deployed from under the rover's belly two years ago. In its two years on the red planet, Ingenuity has made more than 50 flights, which is incredible when you consider that it was designed to perform just five flights. During that time, Ingenuity had to take a break from long flights to deal with the cold martian winter, but since the beginning of the year, the helicopter has been back, making some of its longest flights yet.

Read more
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover gets a speed boost
curiosity clay samples water

While NASA’s newer Perseverance rover tends to get all the headlines these days, the Curiosity rover also continues to explore the surface of Mars more than a decade after it reached the red planet.

The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which oversees the Mars rover missions, has just given Curiosity a new lease of life after installing its first major software update in seven years.

Read more