Scientists are expected to interact with and adjust the rover’s onboard instruments without touching their computers. The software could also be used in future Mars-related missions.
Of all the announcements Microsoft made during Wednesday’s Windows 10 event, HoloLens, the company’s new virtual reality headset, almost immediately dominated the news.
But it’s not just gamers and developers who have ambitious plans for the device. NASA also plans to use the futuristic tech to allow scientists to explore the surface of Mars with its HoloLens-enabled software called OnSight.
Microsoft and NASA scientists at the organization’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California teamed up to create the software, which works in conjunction with the HoloLens.
Scientists who wear the headsets will see a holographic simulation of the surface of Mars based on data collected by NASA’s Curiosity Rover. When multiple people use it at once they can interact with the Curiosity, the Martian landscape and each other.
“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” Dave Lavery, NASA’s program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, said in a statement. “It fundamentally changes our perception of Mars, and how we understand the Mars environment surrounding the rover.”
The software is to introduce gesture-based controls for Curiosity’s instruments. Scientists are expected to interact with and adjust the rover’s onboard instruments without touching their computers.
JPL is slated to start testing OnSight With Curiosity this summer and hopes it will be ready to start controlling rovers on Mars with it by July. The software could also be used in future Mars-related missions. Read more…