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'mixed Reality' Technology Brings Mars to Earth

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Mars Curiosity rover driver Erisa Hines in a mixed-reality presentation.

A group of researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a mixed-reality guided tour of areas of Mars, led by astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Microsoft

Researchers at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Microsoft are working to develop a guided tour of an area of Mars with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a "mixed-reality" interactive exhibit to open this summer called "Destination: Mars."

The exhibit uses the Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset to merge virtual elements with the user's actual environment, creating a world in which real and virtual objects interact.

Guests will "visit" several sites on Mars, reconstructed using imagery from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Aldrin will serve as "holographic tour guide" on the journey, and Curiosity Mars rover driver Erisa Hines will lead participants to places on Mars where scientists have made important discoveries.

"We're excited to give the public a chance to see Mars using cutting-edge technologies that help scientists plan Curiosity's activities on Mars today," says Destination: Mars project manager Jeff Norris.

JPL researchers also are developing mixed-reality applications in support of astronauts on the International Space Station and engineers responsible for the design and assembly of spacecraft. "By connecting astronauts to experts on the ground, mixed reality could be transformational for scientific and engineering efforts in space," Norris says.

From NASA News
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