If you've ever dreamed of exploring Mars, but don't feel like waiting for technology to progress to a point where human travel to the red planet is a reality, you can now explore our second-nearest neighbor virtually.

NASA has two different apps that allow armchair astronauts to explore the surface of Mars from their computers. Mars Trek is a web-based application "that provides high-quality, detailed visualizations of the planet" built from fifty years of data gathered by exploration of Mars.
Photo: NASA
Experience Curiosity let's viewers journey along with the Curiosity rover, using a 3-D simulation based on data from both the rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, "giving users first-hand experience in a day in the life of a Mars rover."

A team at NASA is using the Mars Trek simulator to scout out possible locations for the Mars 2020 rover and to "examine and select candidate sites for the first human exploration mission to Mars" sometime in the 2030s.

The simulations offer the most realistic way currently available to explore the other-worldly surface of this other-world. The proposed one-way Mars One mission, in which participants will travel to the planet knowing the likelihood of ever returning to Earth is nigh impossible, has been criticized as a possible scam.