Mixed reality helps to find places for bases on Mars

April 1? 1961 Yuri Gagarin made the first flight into space. Today is the 57th anniversary of this memorable date. Over the years, the space industry has evolved to the point where people are already going to colonize Mars. And Microsoft does not remain indifferent to this process. Under the cut, you will find a translation of an article by our British colleagues on the use of the company's technologies for the development of space research. Join now!
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Mixed reality helps to find places for bases on Mars
NASA uses Microsoft HoloLens in its search for the best places on Mars. There it is planned to build bases on which, after some time, astronauts-researchers of the planet will settle down.
Jay Torres is a member of the NASA group, which is developing a project called Rover , which will be used when flying to the Red Planet in 2020 to study the landscape, collect samples and search for life. Jay recreates Mars using real data and HoloLens, the Microsoft mixed-reality headset. With this help, scientists on Earth have the opportunity to better know the planet, and astronauts can prepare for life in space.
Instead of putting users in a completely computer world, as virtual reality does, HoloLens allows users to place 3D models in the space next to each other.

At a special event at Microsoft's London office, Torres showed how NASA experts can use data taken from previous missions to Mars, upload them to HoloLens and allow scientists to "walk" through Mars and explore its surface without leaving their own office. Torres was asked whether it could be used to locate places where astronauts could create bases. "Absolutely," he replied. Then Torres was asked if NASA is doing it. "Yes," he said.
"We put HoloLens on scientists, and they immediately went to the highest point on Mars and looked down to where they were at the beginning. I asked them why. They said they would do it on Mars to get an idea of ​​it. They already acted as if they were on Mars. "
Researchers from University of Brown recently released the first map of one of the three regions of the planet (Northeast Syrtis Major), in which NASA can send its 2020 Rover for study. Using the spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , they discovered large deposits of minerals in the area. Rover could take soil samples to determine how the planet changed over time and whether there was life there at some point. Other considered objects are crater Jezero , which was once a lake, and the Columbia Hills. NASA will make a final decision regarding the landing site in 2019.
Ben Riggs, a mechanical engineer working on the Mars 2020 Rover, uses the Protospace program for HoloLens to "interact with the Rover model in a natural, intuitive way while communicating with other people in the room." He told the audience at the summit Vision VR /AR in Hollywood, that the Rover design team uses HoloLens to assess any potential problems with the mission well before launch. "Searching for potential problems early in the design process is vital to the success of the project, and the Protospace tool gives us this opportunity," he said.
This is just one example of using HoloLens to prepare for space missions. Astronaut Scott Kelly used the device to perform tasks on the International Space Station, talking to colleagues on Earth via Skype (see in the video below); spacecraft designers used technology to improve their equipment; NASA even used HoloLens to organize an exhibition about Mars at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with Buzz Aldrin, the second person on the Moon.

Lorraine Bardeen , general manager of Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences, said that not only NASA will use HoloLens. More and more companies are using the device to become more efficient and ultimately better serve their customers.
"More and more companies are beginning to understand and take advantage of HoloLens and mixed reality. The ecosystem is thriving around HoloLens, which allows customers to create HoloLens solutions more easily than ever, and we are happy to look to the future in anticipation of innovations in mixed reality. "
Torres, whose official position is the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says that in many cases the use of HoloLens on Earth for space exploration is better than sending a man in a rocket.
"The virtual world is better than real. We can allow scientists to use "superpower", which they would not have, even standing on Mars. We can let them fly high above the mountains and dunes or go to the valleys. We can help them better see the terrain and rocks, and we can give them X-ray vision to see under the earth. We can show them Mars in a way they would never have seen with his usual gaze. All this can be done using HoloLens ».

So far, NASA scientists have been studying 2D images of Mars to find interesting rocks and mineral deposits. However, it was difficult for them to judge distances and angles using flat images. Using HoloLens allows you to make location forecasts more than three times more accurate. Experts from around the world can join the research and make their own views, as well as get acquainted with the opinions of others.
Torres believes that this can stimulate "thousands" of people using HoloLens to "join" astronauts in the future journey to Mars.
"In 196? when we first landed a man on the Moon, people were glued to their TV sets when they watched how these granular images are sent back by astronauts," he said. "I believe that when we land on Mars, and we land on Mars, the astronauts will be" not alone ". They will be joined by hundreds, if not thousands of people. You can call them "Telenauts". These Telenauts will see not only what astronauts see, but many other things, from orbital vehicles to their names. I believe that the future of space research has begun. "
Our page is , dedicated to HoloLens.
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