Preserve the mental health of astronauts by allowing them to immerse themselves in larger-than-life terrestrial environments. NASA is studying virtual reality (VR) solutions for this purpose. After carrying out tests on Earth, it continues them in orbit, aboard the International Space Station (ISS). She selected the “Vive Focus 3” headset, developed by the space health platform XR Health, associated with the Danish engineering company Nord-Space Aps and the Taiwanese HTC Vive.
The headset will be the first to board SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship, which is scheduled to take off on November 7 to resupply the ISS; and the first to be tested in orbit by Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who flew to the ISS at the end of August. The helmet has been configured to operate in micro-gravity. The experience can be surprising. From the ISS, which circles the Earth in 90 minutes, astronauts have a breathtaking view of the cradle of humanity. They witness 16 sunrises in a 24-hour period.
They are very busy: scientific tests, repairs, physical exercises, extra-vehicular outings… They can talk to their loved ones by video. How could they get the blues? But what will happen during distant missions, for example on Mars? Between the journey - 200 to 350 days, compared to 3 to reach the Moon - and the exploration, a Martian mission will last more than three years. Far from Earth, which they will not see from Mars. Isolated, the astronauts will be subjected to “living together” in confined spaces. VR headsets could help them preserve their mental balance.