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Almost Like Being on Mars...

Stashed in: Awesome, Virtual Reality!, Space!, Mars, Mars Humans

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Virtual reality is becoming, well, real, and that could let more people share in the experience of space exploration. 

Space and VR have always been a good match. For 20 years, a small team at Johnson’s VRLab has been training astronauts with ever more faithful simulations of the spacecraft and payloads they handle in space. Each year the software and hardware get better, the graphics more lifelike. Now the outside world is catching up. A new generation of high-quality VR headsets will soon be introduced for the consumer market, and many tech-watchers believe these and other immersive devices will transform culture in the same way that touch-screen smartphones did after they appeared in 2007. (Some 200,000 developers have registered to create apps and games for the Oculus Rift, a headset that will arrive in stores next year.) The fact that the commercial market is now driving the push toward high-quality VR is “fantastic,” says Evelyn Miralles, the Lead VR Innovator/Principal Engineer for NASA’s VRLab. Her team plans to send an Oculus headset up to the space station for evaluation next year.

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