Eyes on the Solar System

Track the perseverance rover in real-time with NASA's Eyes Simulation

yoper Technology

NASA's Perseverance Rover left the Earth behind forever on July 30, until it reaches Mars in February 2021. You can use NASA's “Eyes on the Solar System” tool at any time. Here, you can follow the progress of the mission to the Red Planet.

NASA Eyes software is a simulation of the solar system that can display the locations of planets, satellites, and NASA's most famous missions in real-time. You can install the full desktop application to get what NASA calls a more immersive experience. However, if you just want to view the location of planets and some robot browsers, then the web-based version is sufficient.

Mars Perseverance
Credit: Screenshot of the Mars 2020 “Eyes on the Solar System”

NASA stated that it cannot provide real-time updates for all ongoing missions, but you can see Perseverance, Parker, New Horizons, and some ESA missions. There are also habitats for planets, dwarf planets, and other noteworthy objects (such as the asteroid Bennu). You can click and drag to rotate the view, and the scroll wheel will zoom. In the corner, you can choose the quality and lighting. Clicking on “Mars 2020” will also display an information panel with basic statistics and links for more information.

Perseverance Rover
Credit: NASA

The desktop program does provide more functions. You can lock “Perseverance” or any other included tasks to view its current location. Then, you can move forward or backward to check the time or location. If you want, you can track Mars in 2020 from Earth to Mars, but don't expect an animation of a fantasy landing. In this simulation, the spacecraft just hit Mars at the right time. However, as we get closer and closer to the landing site, it is still fun to browse the live view. If you are using a desktop application, you can quickly move forward to get a preview immediately.

Perseverance is NASA's follow-up to the successful Curiosity rover. This new car has some design improvements, more advanced instruments, and helicopter drones, and is expected to be the first aircraft on another planet. Perseverance will land in Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021. The spacecraft should reach Earth earlier than that, but it will wait until the scheduled time to start landing autonomously. In a few minutes, we will know whether perseverance can perfectly follow the pace of curiosity.