Virtual Reality: NASA Gives a Glimpse of Mars, Outerspace via Microsoft HoloLens

Nov 15, 2016 09:10 AM EST

Thanks to Microsoft HoloLens and NASA, setting foot on Mars without falling off the face of the Earth is now possible through virtual reality.

This is what the visitors of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) experienced during an augmented reality demo and lecture at the New York University's Tandon School of Engineering MakerSpace event space in held Brooklyn last November 7, the Scientific American reports.

JPL Ops Lab Creative Director Matthew Clausen, and intern and NYU graduate student Marijke Jorritsma showcased the impressive research and exploration features of the Microsoft HoloLens, a headset specially designed to project virtual images from the surface of Mars over the real world.

Wearing HoloLens headsets to project on screen their virtual viewpoint, Clausen and Jorritsma presented to the audience three applications of the Microsoft HoloLens: Onsight (a virtual reconstruction of the Martian surface that can help researchers work collaboratively and allow a more accurately measurement of angles and distances among specific Martian locations), Project Sidekick (a feature enabling experts to assist astronauts on the International Space Station by walking them through complex procedures, providing guidance, diagrams, and additional information), and Protospace (which allows mechanical engineers to visualize and explore details modeled of spacecraft and machinery in a true-to-scale manner as a group).

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The HoloLens has proven itself as a useful tool in several programs of NASA, but Clausen hints that average human beings exploring space though the Microsoft HoloLens in the future is a possibility. "It's not just going to be the people at JPL, or at the other space centers around the country and around the world, but we imagine a future in which it's actually all of you; anyone that has access to this immersive technology, libraries, in their schools, in their basements, all being able to participate in the exploration of these new worlds together," he reveals.

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