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Virtual & Augmented Reality Use in Space Exploration

August 1, 2022 in

Virtual and augmented reality are becoming more and more common across industries. In addition to gaming, medical, and entertainment applications, the space industry is adopting these technologies as well. 

From astronaut training to maintenance assistance, virtual and augmented reality technologies are rapidly changing the way that humans are exploring the solar system. 

What Is Virtual and Augmented Reality?

Virtual reality immerses a user completely within a digital world. This technology uses three-dimensional renderings to recreate a certain environment or situation, which users access via a specialized headset and other equipment.

On the other hand, augmented reality retains some elements of the physical world. Instead, digital renderings are superimposed on top of our actual surroundings. This technology allows users to interact with various objects in a familiar location. 

Applications for Virtual and Augmented Reality in Space Exploration

There are many exciting applications for virtual and augmented reality in space exploration. This technology makes it easier to train new crew members, develop new technologies, and improve conditions for astronauts aboard space craft.

Below are just some of the potential uses for this technology:

  • Robot Control: Many space stations require robotic arms and other remote technologies to complete their missions. Using virtual reality, scientists can test out the remote operation of these robots in a safe environment, helping develop new and exciting technologies for space stations.
  • Astronaut Training: Before boarding a spacecraft, astronauts require a significant amount of training and preparation. Specifically, crew members need to adapt to microgravity in order to successfully live in space. Virtual reality can help astronauts acclimatize themselves to changes in time, speed, movement, and other factors, supporting the training process.
  • Maintenance Assistance: Augmented reality can help space station crews inspect and maintain various components of a space station. This technology can display guided instructions for spacecraft maintenance so that astronauts can repair components without needing to communicate with ground control.
  • Space Education: Space exploration organizations can use virtual reality to immerse people in the daily lives of real astronauts. This is not only valuable for potential astronauts, but also for the general public. By providing people with an immersive look into space exploration, organizations can spark curiosity and inspire future innovations. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Space Exploration

Using virtual and augmented reality in space exploration can deliver significant benefits. This technology allows for more efficient and convenient training in a safe, controlled environment. Additionally, virtual and augmented reality can take place anywhere and may reduce costs for space organizations.

However, it can take some time to adapt to a virtual environment and some astronauts may prefer hands-on, traditional training approaches. It is important for space organizations to make a careful decision to implement these technologies and develop training plans that meet the needs of their crew members. 

Speak to the Specialists at HigherEchelon

If your organization is interested in virtual or augmented reality technologies, you need implementation specialists who can help you realize your goals. At HigherEchelon, our team has the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to implement immersive training for your space exploration program, helping bring your learners closer to the real experience.

Contact us today to discuss your virtual or augmented reality needs. You can call us at 866-469-9945, email us at solutions@higherechelon.com, or fill out our online form for a free consultation.