NASA’s Curiosity rover has been physically exploring the surface of Mars since 2012, but as it rolls along, it sends surface data back to scientists on Earth for analysis. But what does that mean?
The word “analysis” comes up a lot in science, but it’s rare that we ever get to see how it translates to scientific study in the real world. In this particular case, scientists analyze the Martian surface as it’s sent back by Curiosity with virtual reality hardware and software – namely the Microsoft HoloLens.
The software the scientists are using in this video is called OnSight, and it enables them to walk around in a three-dimensional, virtual reality realm built upon a visual database collected by the Curiosity rover throughout its journey across the Martian surface. With it, scientists can grab a closer look at objects and study with their colleagues from around the world.
NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 rover will sport this technology too, enabling scientist to continue their work as they know it.