Blue sunsets, giant canyons and Martian volcanoes – soon tourists might be able to explore the Red Planet from the comfort of their own living room.

It’s midday on Mars. The scarlet skies are clear and it’s a balmy zero degrees – the perfect conditions for a day out.

One by one, the sightseers hop off the bus and sink their feet into the dust. The desolate, rocky landscape stretches to the horizon. Above them, they can just discern the faint outline of the planet’s larger moon, Phobos. They take some selfies.

There are no spacesuits, tour guides, or humans in sight. This is a party of robot avatars – and today they’re going to climb Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our Solar System.

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