The “Mars-500” project, part of Russia’s federal space program, aims to replicate the conditions of a manned flight to Mars. The latest and longest phase of the project, beginning on June 3rd, sees six cosmonauts spending 520 days in a hermetically sealed environment which simulates the isolation, confinement and communication delays of interplanetary flight. Scientists monitoring the international team of crew members (which includes Russian, French, Italian and Chinese cosmonauts) hope to learn whether such a journey is physiologically and psychologically possible.
During their experimental ‘flight’ each crew member will be equipped with a notebook PC based on NVIDIA 3D Vision technology (www.nvidia.co.in/3dvision). As the leading solution for experiencing stereoscopic 3D graphics, 3D Vision will help the cosmonauts immerse themselves in a virtual Martian reality, as well as relax during their leisure time.
There is currently no physical means to simulate landing and exploring a new planet, so these elements of the experiment will be realised using 3D virtual reality. Elements of the physical environment such as gravity, light levels and atmospheric dust can be simulated and brought to life in 3D.
The depth and quality of graphics made possible by NVIDIA 3D Vision mean the experiment can more accurately reproduce the psychological effects of key mission operations, from blast-off and landing to expeditions on the planet’s surface. By placing the crew in an extremely immersive and realistic 3D virtual reality, 3D Vision will allow the cosmonauts to experience the next best thing to standing on the Red Planet itself.
NVIDIA 3D Vision comprises wireless active shutter glasses, a 120Hz 3D-capable display, 3D Vision capable NVIDIA GeForce graphics processing unit and special software which transforms content into stereoscopic 3D.
The 520-day Mars-500 experiment consists of 3 stages, all of which will employ NVIDIA 3D Vision:
- Travel to the Red Planet
- A 30-day period working on the Martian surface
- The return to Earth