NASA astronauts will use Microsoft's futuristic HoloLens on the International Space Station

Nasa hololensNASANASA astronauts test the HoloLens on the C9 Weightless Wonder jet.

NASA and Microsoft announced today that a pair of HoloLens glasses — Microsoft’s insane wearable holographic computer — will make their way to the International Space Station via the SpaceX Dragon supply mission launching on Sunday.

HoloLens will help International Space Station astronauts in two ways, according to the press release:

  1. “Remote Expert Mode,” where an astronaut can have a holographic Skype window projected in their field of view, so a technician back on Earth can guide them through complex tasks.
  2. “Procedure Mode,” which overlays “animated holographic illustrations displayed on top of the objects with which the crew is interacting.”

In both cases, NASA says that it will help reduce the amount of training that an astronaut crew needs to do even the most complicated procedures in space, helping ensure they’re ready for anything.

“This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars,” said Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS program, in a press release.

Astronauts have already tested HoloLens on NASA’s Weightless Wonder C9 jet to make sure it can survive zero gravity, and they will test it again (including network connectivity) once it’s aboard the ISS. NASA is predicting that it will go into actual use by the end of this year, and Microsoft has plans to send up more of the HoloLens glasses in the future.

They’re calling this “Project Sidekick,” and it will also get put to use at Aquarius, NASA’s undersea research base, once that mission launches on July 21st.

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