NASA Explores potential of altered realities for space engineering and science

Virtual and augmented reality are transforming the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry. A team of NASA technologists now is investigating how this immersive technology could profit agency engineers and scientists, particularly in the design and construction of spacecraft and the interpretation of scientific data.

Thomas Grubb, an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is leading a team of center technical experts and university students to develop six multidisciplinary pilot projects highlighting the potential of virtual and augmented reality, also known as VR and AR. These pilots showcase current capabilities in engineering operations and science, but also provide a glimpse into how technologists could use the technology in the future.

“Anyone who followed the popularity of Pok√©mon Go has seen how the public has embraced this technology,” said Grubb, referring to the augmented-reality game that quickly became a global sensation in 2016. “Just as it’s changing the gaming industry, it will change the way we do our jobs,” Grubb added. “Five years from now, it’s going to be amazing.”

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