NASA has created a mixed-reality environment that is literally out of this world. Developed using the Unreal Engine, future crews of the ISS are virtually put into space while still on Earth. The astronauts are engrossed in a virtual 3D environment that closely resembles the ISS. The cutting edge graphics and physics simulations make it as authentic as possible with everything onboard the virtual ISS as it is in real life. Each astronaut is tasked with challenges of increasing difficulty that they would face in real-life missions aboard the ISS. A robotic crane is also used to simulate the experience of micro, lunar and Martian gravity, all while hooked up to the mixed reality system. NASA’s mantra is that the more realistic the training feels, the faster its astronauts can respond in critical real-world situations to help save the mission or their lives.
Usually reserved for video games, the Unreal Engine has been used by NASA to create a lifelike representation of the ISS, and it is now one of the best training methods available to astronauts. Network support is enabled so astronauts can even work together at different training centres across the globe. The visualisation will help astronauts become as skilled as possible before blasting off into low Earth orbit and will help them respond to the situations and problems that may arise on the International Space Station. VR, is there anything it can’t do?
For more tech and space news, pick up your copy of issue 97 from from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!