Using Virtual/Augmented Reality and Holoportation to help improve the mental health of future Mars astronauts

we Recently explored How to present the Apple TV + series, for all mankind, gives us a harsh reality check about the rigors of human space exploration. On the show, the astronauts struggle, some go crazy, and Much Some of them are dying in pursuit of raising our flag a little further from home. We discussed how for all mankind Both are science fiction while set in an alternate universe, it is very likely that our future astronauts Artemis and Mars will endure the same suffering and difficulties as the beloved characters on the show.

When Artemis astronauts finally land on the Moon, they will be there anywhere from a few days to a few months. While the Moon is only a few days away from Earth, Artemis astronauts may still be stuck at home and unable to get out without wearing a spacesuit.

On the other hand, astronauts who travel to Mars will be away from their homes for a longer time, probably more than two years. They would be stuck in a spacecraft for a long trip to Mars, stuck inside a Martian surface/subsurface habitat for longer and unable to get out without wearing a spacesuit, and then stuck in the same spacecraft for a long trip home.

Anyone who’s spent long periods of time with their family—whether working long hours for your career or scattered about their country—knows that this can be a massive drain on the mental health of all involved. The individual begins to question whether his “mission” is worth it, and families begin to question the legality of remaining in this precarious situation in the long term as well. This mental health drain can be greatly amplified for any manned flight to Mars, as some astronauts and their families back home undoubtedly question the mission knowing that if a component fails, they will not return home. But what potential steps can be taken to reduce this mental health drain and help keep both parties focused?

Virtual / Augmented Reality (VR / AR)

Everyone loves virtual reality (VR), especially for video games. Nowadays, we can’t run our own TV or streaming service without seeing an ad for the latest VR headset that you’ll likely indulge in for hours on end. For human spaceflight, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) I started using virtual and augmented reality (AR) To help carry out their various tasks aboard the outpost, from controlling the robots to performing maintenance. But what if future Mars astronauts could use this same technology for entertainment purposes to help improve their mental health while on a planet? Literally trying to kill them?

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station on Feb. 20, 2016 wearing the HoloLens for Sidekick, a project aimed at studying how augmented reality can reduce crew training requirements while increasing the efficiency of their work in space. (credit: NASA)

The common perception is that astronauts are these supernatural geeks, but they are still largely human, and they all have their favorite hobbies and activities, to include Fine arts, marathon running, scuba diving. When some of these brave pioneers are on Mars, we can send them out immersive video From the same favorite hobbies and activities to help improve their mental health, thus helping them stay focused on the task.

Holoportation

Holoportation It involves taking a 3D picture of someone and sending it anywhere in real time, and that was Recently used aboard the International Space Station. Like VR/AR, Holoportation requires the use of special glasses to see the object, and has been featured many times in the Hulu series, the first, which ironically depicted the first manned mission to Mars. For future Mars astronauts and their families, Holoportation technology can be used to talk to each other, albeit with a slight time delay. This technology will only get better in the coming years, and Martian astronauts who see their family members as a real 3D image can have a much more positive impact on their mental health than just talking to them on a Zoom call or any other traditional form of 2D video communication. .

A comprehensive photo of NASA’s flight surgeon, Dr. Joseph Schmid, on the International Space Station on October 8, 2021. (Credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Astronaut Thomas Bisquet)

When will humans go to Mars, and how will astronauts respond to being away from their families for an extended period of time? Perhaps VR/AR and holoportation can help answer this question. Only time will prove it, and that’s why we know!

As always, keep learning and keep researching!