National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA astronauts train for future space missions with VR metaverse

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has unveiled a new training initiative for astronauts using virtual reality (VR) headsets and metaverse technology to prepare them for life on a lunar space station.

In an official announcement, NASA’s novel training technique is expected to play a significant role in mankind’s first lunar space station. Dubbed Gateway, the lunar space station will see humans plant their feet on the moon, serving as a base for further explorations into Mars and deep space.

As the timeline inches closer, NASA is keen on upgrading its astronaut training capability, turning to new and emerging technologies. Rather than relying on computer and physical-based simulations, the space agency will use an immersive 3D environment to prepare the astronauts to set up shop on the moon.

NASA’s astronauts will use a custom-built metaverse to simulate life aboard the lunar station, testing its suitability for long-term human habitation. The VR-based studies will recreate the tasks that astronauts are expected to face on Gateway, including making meals and collecting supplies.

“NASA astronauts are using virtual reality to explore Gateway,” read the announcement. “When they slip on their headsets, they’re not just seeing the station—they’re in it, meticulously surveying every detail and offering crucial insights on design and functionality.”

The studies are expected to provide NASA with pertinent information necessary for adjustments before a full-scale launch.

“By combining VR models with real-world astronaut experience, NASA designers can make tweaks to Gateway’s interior design for a safer and comfier space station,” said NASA.

To improve its authenticity, NASA will rely on the expertise of commanders of SpaceX’s previous missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Raja Chari and Nicole Mann led SpaceX Crew-3 and Crew-5 missions before testing NASA’s VR training initiative, confirming its suitability for preparing the space crew.

New use cases for the metaverse

While the metaverse allows users to trade digital currencies and interact with other users,
several enterprises are turning to the technology for more use cases. Currently, utility in health and manufacturing is spiking to new highs.

One report from Omnia Health surmises that metaverse will play a leading role in boosting medical tourism to a $200 billion sector by 2027. On the other hand, Meta (NASDAQ: META) is betting big on the metaverse, which plays a pivotal part in “skills acquisition for surgeons” and for fitness, while integration with artificial intelligence could unlock new possibilities.

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