While actual human exploration to Mars won't happen for the next few decades, anyone hooked up to a computer here on Earth can start exploring the Red Planet virtually.
NASA has recently unveiled Mars Trek, a new website specifically for exploring the Red Planet's surface. It has been described as similar to Google Earth's street view feature, with an interactive map that shows a definitive surface of the planet based on images taken from several missions.
The site can either be explored in 2D or 3D and users can zoom in on specific areas, such as the craters, for a better view. The 3D feature allows users to take a closer look at the Martian poles or rotate the planet, according to NBC News.
Special tools are also available on the site, so that users can plot their own Martian travels. However, feedback from other users who have already tried the virtual tour said that Mars Trek may be slow to load on older computers. Some browsers may also not support the 3D function properly, according to Digital Journal.
Locations that have already been known and named by scientists are marked with pop-up cards on the website, where additional details to these landmarks are provided. But given that the site is still brand new and it's a work in progress, there are not a lot of details available.
Mars Trek also features a bookmark section that brings users to site locations of historical significance, such as the area where Curiosity landed.
Additionally, Mars Trek offers users downloadable models of the areas on Mars and everything can be accessed on mobile devices as well.
Check out the tutorial on the website under the help section to navigate its features better.