Visiting Mars is at best a 34 million-mile journey, but the next best thing is now as close as Cape Canaveral. Until January 1, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will play host to Destination: Mars, an augmented reality experience powered by Microsoft's HoloLens that takes guests on a guided tour of Mars locations. The program was born out of OnSight, the scientific tool created through a collaboration between Microsoft and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Like earlier OnSight projects, Destination: Mars builds its landscapes from data and images sent back from the Curiosity rover, and lays them over the user's real location. Virtual visitors to the Red Planet will be guided through key areas and discoveries by a hologram of Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, and Erisa Hines, a scientist at JPL and a driver of the Curiosity rover.
"The opportunity to get up close and personal with a walk on Mars is so exciting and we can't wait for our guests to experience the thrill of it," said Therrin Protze, COO of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "We're particularly honored to offer Destination: Mars, offering our guests an experience they can't have anywhere else: a real look into NASA's work on Mars."
After opening this week, Destination: Mars will run until January 1, 2017. Entry is included with the US$50 price of admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, although bookings are required on the day. Check it out in the video below.
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