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How Will Hololens Help Astronauts Walk On Mars?

“Mars is there, waiting to be reached.” — Buzz Aldrin

When Microsoft introduced its Hololens, some people thought it would be the 2nd Google Glass or Oculus Rift. However, Microsoft has a vision for the future, and it features terms and technologies straight out of science fiction. Soon after its introduction, NASA and Microsoft announced their partnership to develop a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using Hololens devices. The new software is called OnSight.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices. It fundamentally changes our perception of Mars, and how we understand the Mars environment surrounding the rover,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission at NASA HQ in Washington.

By using the data that is collected from the Curiosity Mission, Microsoft’s developers will create a 3D simulation of the Martian environment where program scientists will be able to examine the rover’s worksite as human perspectives, plan new activities and preview the results of their work firsthand. “Technically, the OnSight system uses holographic computing to overlay visual information and rover data into the user’s field of view. Holographic computing blends a view of the physical world with computer-generated imagery to create a hybrid of real and virtual,” said a Project’s Developer.

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marsholo-600x542To view this holographic realm, NASA Astronauts use Microsoft Hololens device. They can even stroll around the rocky surface or crouch down to examine rocky outcrops from different angles. “We believe OnSight will enhance the ways in which we explore Mars and share that journey of exploration with the world,” shared Jeff Norris, Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s OnSight project manager.

The project will be ready for testing later this year. Future applications may include Mars 2020 rover mission operations, and other applications in support of NASA’s journey to Mars.

By today, we’re going beyond the screen. By tomorrow, we will go to where no one has gone before.

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