NASA is teaming up with Microsoft to give you a glimpse of the Red Planet. A new exhibition called "Destination: Mars" will let visitors use Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headsets to take a virtual stroll on Mars, alongside a "holographic" tour guide, astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Stroll on Mars with Buzz Aldrin
The exhibition, which will open this summer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, uses OnSight, a mission operations tool co-developed by Microsoft and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Basically, OnSight will take the data and images collected by the Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars since August 2012, and use HoloLens to turn a room into the surface of the Red Planet for you to walk around.
OnSight is a tool that NASA scientists use to virtually explore Mars and make recommendations about where Curiosity should go next. For the first time, the exhibition will allow regular people to use that same tool and get "a glimpse of Mars as seen by mission scientists," NASA said in a press release.
At the exhibition, visitors will be able to virtually explore several sites on the Red Planet. "Holographic" tour guides like Aldrin and rover driver Erisa Hines will point you to sites 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," said Jeff Norris, project manager for OnSight and "Destination: Mars" at JPL. "While freely exploring the terrain, participants learn about processes that have shaped this alien world."