TECH

Nasa Use Oculus Rift And Virtuix Omni To 'Walk' On Mars

06/08/2013 11:15 BST

It's been used to recreate classic 80s computer games and even simulate what it's like to have your head lopped off your shoulders but now the Oculus Rift virtual reality machine can take you to Mars.

Curious scientists from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) took information from their superb Curiosity rover and satellites orbiting the red planet to create a virtual landscape.

They then used a Virtuix Omni treadmill which enabled them to "walk" around Mars but with the added bonus of sufficient gravity, oxygen and air conditioning.

As if that wasn't enough they also mapped the interior of the International Space Station (ISS).

JPL human interfaces engineer, Victor Luo, told engadget: "There's no real up or down in the space station.

"You get this feeling of weightlessness when you're looking up or down."

Luo admits using the technology for Nasa purposes is still in its early stages but there is clearly potential for Oculus Rift-style VR to be used to train astronauts.

He said: "We'd like to see more capabilities.

"We'd like more sensors built into it, leverage the capabilities a lot more."

For us mere mortals however, it may suffice if only to give us the closest taste we're ever likely to get of venturing into space - until we save up £130,000 to jump on board with Mr Branson.