Few things are as futuristic as space exploration but this week Kennedy Space Center debuted a new temporary exhibit that uses the latest augment reality technology to showcase what future life will be like on the Mars.
Kennedy Space Center’s brand new Destination: Mars exhibit uses Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality goggles in one of the first public uses of the technology. Guests to Kennedy Space Center can check out the temporary attraction now through January 1, 2017.
After checking-in guests see a short video explaining what HoloLens is and the authenticity of the Mars simulator. Guests are then fitted with the goggles before entering into a small room where, with the goggles on, they can explore an authentic simulated Mars surface. While ‘on’ the surface of Mars guests are given a self-guided tour hosted by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Curiosity rover driver Erisa Hines. The roughly 8-minute long experience showcases a number of points of interest on the red planet’s surface including Curiosity’s drill hole and Mount Sharp. Aldrin and Hines serve as holographic guides pointing guests to important sights but guests are free to explore as they wish.
The entire thing feels like something straight out of Star Trek. While not an actual holodeck the HoloLens experience seems to be closer to that than traditional virtual reality. Guests are brought into the exploration room in groups of 8. Unlike VR that fills the entire sight of vision the ‘mixed reality,’ HoloLens allows for users to see the real world in the edges of the screen. This allows for users to have a personalized experience while fully with others.
Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, explains why Destination: Mars is such a unique opportunity; “we’re particularly honored to offer Destination: Mars, as it is exclusive to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, offering our guests an experience they can’t have anywhere else: a real look into NASA’s work on Mars.”
The new experience is opened daily and is included in general admission but a separate day of reservation is required.
This article was contributed by correspondent Ken Story of www.orlandotourismreport.com