Advances in virtual reality are creating remarkable opportunities for people to immerse themselves into environments that they never would be able to otherwise. Virtual reality developers are using this ability to in several creative ways in the field of space exploration. From providing educational and entertaining experiences for users or helping to train astronauts at NASA, several applications for this technology are already being developed.
One demo that has been released for multiple VR platforms and has gained a lot of popularity is Titans of Space. This demo allows the user to pilot a spaceship through our solar system and offers detailed information on each of the planets, and acts as a powerful and immersive VR experience. Programs like this help to highlight the potential that virtual reality has for creating engaging educational lessons.
Beyond just digital representations of planets, several companies are working to give users and even more real representation of space. for the first time ever, a virtual reality recording system will be flown in space. The project will use a spherical video capture system to create a virtual reality tour of the International Space Station. This will allow anyone with a VR headset to have a fully immersive astronaut experience aboard the International Space Station.
What’s so exciting about this project is how accessible the content will be. In addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.
Another exciting project in the works is the Mars 2030 program, being spearheaded by NASA. Expected to debut at SXSW later this month, this program allows for a fully interactive Mars experience.
There are several other very interesting applications that are still underdevelopment that will help provide virtual reality users with the powerful experience of space travel and will hopefully help to foster an interest in space exploration in new generations.