Buzz Aldrin Gives a Virtual Tour of Mars In NASA's New Exhibit

Michele Debczak

There's no need to sign up for a one-way ticket to Mars to explore the red planet. A new interactive exhibit coming to the Kennedy Space Center this summer will use augmented reality to make visitors feel as if they're actually there, Popular Science reports.

At the exhibit, titled Destination: Mars, virtual astronauts will don Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality visors and take a guided tour of Mars. Visitors can view several Martian sites that have been generated from real images captured on the planet's surface. A holographic Buzz Aldrin and Curiosity Rover operator Erisa Hines act as tour guides, explaining the significance of each landmark and the discoveries made there. (You can watch an example of HoloLens's "holoportation" technology here.)

The idea of virtually exploring Mars from home wasn't originally developed for public use. It's been adapted from a program called OnSight, used by NASA scientists to analyze Mars imagery and simulate working in the field. And if visiting Florida's Kennedy Space Center to experience this technology isn't convenient for you, NASA is also planning to release a free VR Mars program for Google Cardboard, Samsung VR Gear, and Oculus Rift this fall. You can watch a preview of the new exhibit in the video above.

[h/t Popular Science]

Header/banner images courtesy of NASA JPL.