From broadcasting the first man on the moon to enabling amateur astronauts to traverse Mars themselves, technology has come a long way.
National Geographic teamed up with NASA on a new augmented reality experience on Instagram, available via the @natgeo account. Through the activation, Instagrammers can immerse themselves into the experience of being an actual rover including seeing through its eyes, searching for signs of life on Mars, and more. Users can also perform augmented reality actions like indulging in a 360-degree view of the planet, panorama style, from the point of view of the Perseverance rover, and even taking a selfie with the robot.
Along with working with NASA to ensure the experience is as accurate as possible, National Geographic linked up with scientists and engineers who helped design and build the rover. Though this is National Geographic’s first step into outer space, it’s its fourth project using Instagram parent Facebook’s Spark AR unit, following Spinosaurus, Climb Mount Everest, and What the World Will Feel Like in 2070. As such, the March issue of National Geographic magazine is dedicated to Mars, and includes an immersive experience available through the publisher’s space hub. On Twitter, @natgeo will continue to provide content and updates related to the Perseverance rover and featuring tweets from @NASA.
With many travel options still on hold for consumers, the desire for adventure is at its peak. Meanwhile, Instagram continues to be a social media mainstay for brands and consumers alike, as observed in Gartner’s report on the topic. As such, the opportunity to take a virtual trip to Mars may be appealing to those stuck at home. The two brand’s initiative speaks to both the consumer need for escape and the versatility of Instagram as a platform that’s fast becoming more than just a digital photo album.