Nasa has partnered with real-time visualisation platform Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to create a mixed reality International Space Station (ISS) that can provide an ‘out of this world’ environment for its astronauts and engineers, a media report said on Monday. Unreal Engine’s applications are designed to allow people to work in environments that are practically impossible to access for training and development.
The mixed reality ISS app sweeps astronauts-in-training off their feet with an “active response gravity offload system” techcruch.com reported. It works in conjunction with a robotic crane that makes the trainee feel like he or she would in micro-, lunar- or Martian gravity. Besides using the mixed reality system to train astronauts and engineers for life and work in orbit, Nasa will use it to design new habitats, the techcruch.com report said.
Previously, astronaut training meant dives in a “neutral buoyancy lab,” a giant pool that holds 6.2 million gallons of water and spending time at Nasa’s “space vehicle mock-up facility,” a life-sized model of the space shuttle orbiter and parts of the ISS. These physical facilities have limited capacity, thus adding a mixed reality mock-up, alongside the physical facility, could allow astronauts-in-training a lot more time to hone their skills in a convincing simulator, the report said.