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Destination: Mars invites guests to the Red Planet at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

by Banks Lee

buzz aldrin and curiosity destination mars

A walk on Mars may be in the future for astronauts, but guests won’t have to wait at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Destination: Mars, a new limited-time attraction, makes it possible to “walk on Mars” using real imagery from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover brought to life by Microsoft HoloLens. Presented exclusively by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the experience is available now through Jan. 1, 2017.

“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, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “And 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.”

This limited availability, timed experience is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations must be made the day of at the Destination: Mars reservation counter. It is included with admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and Microsoft HoloLens, Destination: Mars gives guests the opportunity to “visit” several sites on Mars using real imagery from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover. A holographic Buzz Aldrin guides guests to Mars in mixed reality using Microsoft HoloLens (Mixed reality means that virtual elements are merged with the user’s actual environment, creating a world in which real and virtual objects can interact). Visitors “follow” Buzz and Curiosity Rover driver Erisa Hines of JPL, as they lead guests to areas of Mars where scientists have made exciting discoveries.

erisa hines and curiosity destination mars

Destination: Mars grew out of OnSight, a scientific tool created by JPL and Microsoft currently used internationally by researchers. Scientists in different cities can walk together across the Martian surface, discuss geological features and plan for future exploration. The mixed reality tool allows them to study the Red Planet in a more naturalistic way than ever before. OnSight also helps to prepare scientists and engineers for NASA’s goal of a manned mission to Mars.

“We’re thrilled to partner with NASA’s JPL in enabling a whole new way for its scientists to study Mars via Microsoft HoloLens, and now we’re excited to finally offer the public a glimpse into NASA’s use of this transformative technology,” said Scott Erickson, general manager, Microsoft HoloLens.

destination mars logo kennedy space center visitor complex nasa

For more information or to book a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visit KennedySpaceCenter.com.

For more information on Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality:
www.hololens.com

More information about JPL’s use of mixed reality research tools is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6220

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