We're on the verge of seeing numerous virtual reality headset hit the market. These headsets will attempt to better immerse a person into the world that we've only peered at through the window of a television set. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets are due out soon, and NASA is building a new playable mission meant for these consumer headsets.
NASA, working with MIT student Sydney Do and the Florida-based media group Fusion, is readying a Mars virtual reality experience that could extend a walk on Mars into your own living room. Do's paper on the Mars One mission conditions and feasibility study caught NASA's eye and inspired the entire project. Do's paper is also being used to help create a realistic version of what it might be like for an astronaut to walk about on Mars.
“Beyond practical uses for training, virtual reality offers us a compelling method to share the work we’ve been doing to design sustainable human missions and to inspire the next generation of pioneers in space,”
Dr. James Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA.
Game developers are being employed to help flesh out the experience to the end user. It is said that there will be some kind of playable mission, which should include the use of a rover on the surface of Mars. This won't be some artistic interpretation of what it will be like to be on Mars, though. Everything is meant to be an accurate representation of the big red planet. If it all comes together as expected, the Mars VR experience from NASA will be available before the end of 2016.
Source: Christian Science Monitor