NASA Taps Students to Scale up its use of Virtual Reality Technology

It is not the first time NASA shows a great interest in virtual technology. The government agency allows people to travel with Curiosity on Mars through VR as well. The agency’s latest venture revolves around working on a range of new VR environments at Goddard Spaceflight Center. Although the exact use cases remain unknown, the implications can be pretty significant. Ranging from repairing orbital satellites to geological research, anything is possible in virtual reality.

NASA has High Expectations for Virtual Reality Technology

It is good to see NASA show such a keen interest in VR. The agency wants to take their scientific efforts to a whole new level. While there is enough adequate technology on hand to keep improving for years to come, the agency is looking at the bigger picture. In that vision, there is a special place for VR related to different types of NASA activities. The Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland is the key center of focus for this new venture. A number of different virtual reality environments are being created as we speak.

To put this effort into perspective, virtual reality technology can have a positive impact on NASA research as a whole. This technology is already in use for multiple projects as of right now. Scaling up the use of VR will yield some interesting results. The Mars immersion program is just one of the projects which will revolve around VR and scientific research. Other use cases for this technology include planning research trips in real life, measuring distances, and even leaving notes associated with remote locations.

Needless to say, it is far cheaper to use a VR recreation compared to traveling to specific locations to conduct research. While virtual reality is not replacing the actual scientific research on site, it can be a valuable addition. There is also talk about letting NASA technicians repair satellites through virtual reality. Although this is still in development, the agency is pretty serious about this venture. Earthbound engineers can manipulate actual tools in space by using a VR headset and the proper software.

As one would expect, these new programs will create new job openings. Attracting the right people is a top priority for NASA. Students, even those in high school, will be a welcome addition to NSA’s payroll in the future. It is surprising how much talent there is among students these days, especially when it comes to engineering and VR enthusiasm. It will be interesting to see how these new efforts play out for NASA. They are certainly preparing the public for a new era of space exploration, even though it might not be in person.

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