NASA Astronauts Are Now Training With Virtual Reality
Let's do some quick math here. Princeton and Yale's acceptance rate is about 6-7%, and Harvard's acceptance rate is around 5%. NASA's "acceptance rate" (at least in 2016) was closer to 0.08%. Apart from the years of education and experience that are required before you even apply, astronauts endure countless hours of training, instruction, and testing to ensure that they are qualified to explore the cosmos.
Training usually entails a wide variety of tasks and simulations designed to prepare the crew for zero-gravity. The Neutral Buoyancy Lab, a giant pool at the Sonny Carter Training Facility in Houston, Texas, is a key part of this training, acting as a training ground for simulated spacewalks. In fact, if you've ever seen a movie about astronauts, there's a pretty good chance that you've seen clips of astronauts training in the pool.
Now, astronauts are beginning to use tools like virtual reality (VR) to simulate what it will be like in space. At training facilities like the Virtual Reality Lab in the Johnson Space Center, astronauts-in-training can simulate everything from making spacewalks to driving a rover over the surface of Mars. Check it out:
As we race to Mars and various other potentially habitable exoplanets, astronauts will have to deal with more and more unknown variables. From journeying in strange, new spacecraft to exploring the terrain of other planets, there are endless scenarios they need to prepare for. Hopefully, this VR lab will continue to develop and advance alongside efforts to get to Mars...and beyond.