We have exciting news from Russia that NVIDIA 3D Vision is being used by the Russian federal space program to give cosmonauts a virtual reality experience of what it would be like to go on a mission to Mars.
The Mars-500 project involves more than 100 experiments to investigate the possibility of manned space flights to the Red Planet. But before actually sending cosmonauts into space, the program is conducting simulations that replicate the three parts of a mission: the journey to Mars, landing and exploration, and the flight back to Earth.
For the latest experiment, which began June 3, six cosmonauts were sealed in a hermetic environment that simulates the isolation, confinement and communication delays of interplanetary flight. They’ll remain there for 520 days while observers study the physiological and psychological effects of the mission. For the experiment to be useful, the experience needs to be as convincing and immersive as possible – and that’s where NVIDIA 3D Vision comes in.
NVIDIA has supplied the crew with 3D Vision laptop systems that they’ll use primarily when they reach Mars and land on the planet. During their “flight” the crew will be able to use 3D Vision for entertainment (reportedly, one cosmonaut is an avowed gamer and was very happy to see these laptops). But it’s during the 30-day operations phase that 3D Vision is most critical – that’s when the crew will experience a simulated landing on Mars and get to explore the planet’s surface.
NVIDIA’s technology was chosen as the best solution for providing the most realistic, immersive 3D experience. Russian company JCSI, which is creating the interactive 3D model of Mars for the cosmonauts to explore, will simulate different environments – including dust storms, meteorites and craters – so the crew can experience a full range of highly realistic conditions as they navigate the planet’s terrain.
Then it’s another long journey back home. At least the in-flight movie will be in 3D.