Dream of travelling space? Take a virtual reality trip to Mars with Buzz Aldrin
Space travel has been a part of popular culture ever since Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon. His iconic words ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ were watched by millions on TV sets around the world in July 1969. Part of that same Apollo 11 crew was the second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin.
Now Buzz is helping everyday people experience space travel with the help of virtual reality headsets the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Buzz’s VR movie to Mars
The famous astronaut stars in a new VR film that takes viewers on a journey to Mars. The film is called Cycling Pathways to Mars, and it was launched at SXSW in Austin Texas.
In it Buzz appears as a hologram, guiding you through his plan to one day send humans to the Red Planet. The movie was made by virtual reality company 8i in partnership with Time – of Time and Life magazines. You can download the movie on the HTC Vive headset via Steam and Viveport, and it will soon also be available for Oculus Rift.
Why are they using VR?
‘We explore or we expire,’ said Buzz when launching the film at SXSW. ‘So without further ado, get your headset on and get your ass to Mars!’
But why have they chosen to make the film in VR? Wearing a VR headset, you can step into an immersive 360º world from your living room. Your head and hand movements are tracked and replicated.
‘Virtual reality just gives a sense of participating, of being right there,’ says Aldrin, ‘in an enlightened, involved (and) exciting way.’
The best VR headsets are powered by PCs with powerful Intel Core processors and graphics cards. You can explore highly detailed virtual worlds with these tethered headsets. Both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are tethered. Buzz Aldrin’s Mars film is immediately available on HTC Vive and will later come on Oculus Rift.
What will you see on Mars?
Don your VR headset for a journey to the surface of Mars. You’ll be surrounded by its unmistakable red mists and barren landscapes – all craters and dry lake beds. You can experience what it’s like to be on Mars, while one of the greatest astronauts of all time stands among it all, guiding you through (at the very least in hologram form). You’ll also see what a colonised Mars would look like, i.e. Mars with people living on the planet.
How do they put Buzz on Mars?
You’re wearing your headset and Buzz Aldrin is standing slap-bang in front of you on Mars. So how the heck did they do that? We let the experts explain. We created technology to ‘capture holograms of real people that can then be displayed in virtual or augmented reality’ – Linc Gasking, co-founder at 8i.
‘We’re creating nearly photo-realistic holograms of historical icons. People can interact with him as though he is there’ – Mia Tramz, managing editor of Life VR.
Mars – what do you know about the Red Planet?
- Mars is around 142 million miles from the Sun
- Its red colour comes from the rust like chemicals in its soil
- It’s freezing – with an average temperature of -80º Fahrenheit
- Its tornado-like dust storms can sometimes be seen from Earth
- NASA first landed spacecraft on Mars in 1976
Want to know more about the film and HTC Vive?
Ready to be an astronaut? Get your HTC Vive and prepare for blast off
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