Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars -- virtually

Microsoft's HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we'd be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that's what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

The HoloLens will use technology Microsoft co-created with NASA called OnSight. Using imagery captured using the Mars Curiosity rover, NASA scientists can create a virtual 3D environment. Scientists can then use HoloLens to virtually examine the surface of Mars.

Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, said "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."

Before HoloLens, scientists were left to look at images on a screen and wonder what they were seeing., and trying to make sense of it. with OnSight and HoloLens, they can now experience the red planet in a 3D environment, and collaborate with other scientists across the world.

It will also allow scientists to experience Mars more as explorers and less like observers.

OnSight testing will occur later this year with Curiosity. Microsoft and NASA may also include OnSight on Mars 2020 rover operations, as well as other (real, not virtual) journeys to Mars.

Source: NASA