Microsoft is shipping the first wave of HoloLens pre-orders to developers today. That seems to be how "Destination: Mars", an interactive exhibit launched jointly by the space agency and technology company, came to be. It's not quite the immersive virtual reality experience that true VR headsets like the Oculus Rift offer, but it's still capable of stitching together real imagery from NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover, which has been exploring the planet since August 2012. Earlier this month, a UFO hunter in France noticed the unusual shapes in a photo taken by Nasa's Curiosity Mars rover, and claims to have found a cross standing on a hill, partially blocked by rocks. He'll be joined by a Mars Rover driver, who will explain scientific discoveries and Mars facts while visitors are free to make their own way through the rocky terrain.
For those that don't know, the Hololens is a mixed reality headset that a user wears to experience virtual elements that interface with one's actual environment. NASA itself uses OnSight to virtually explore Mars and to decide where its rover should travel next on the Red Planet.
Because there are those who have difficulty in spotting such fine details, Waring has been kind enough to color the image so as to make these features more easily visible.
'It really gives me the sense that I'm in the field when I put it on.
The whole idea behind this exhibition is to give space center guests a "glimpse of Mars as seen by mission scientists", according to NASA, which also said it is preparing to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
JPL is also developing mixed reality applications in support of astronauts on the International Space Station and engineers responsible for the design and assembly of spacecraft.
"This experience lets the public explore Mars in an entirely new way", Doug Ellison, visualization producer at NASA, said in statement.
The exhibition, which will open this summer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, uses OnSight, a mission operations tool co-developed by Microsoft and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.