If a mission to Mars was ever greenlit, it could potentially take astronauts 300 days to get there. That doesn't sound too bad, but now imagine being stuck on a small enclosed space for up to a year. You can't go for a walk, you can't go outside. Under those circumstances, how do you not go completely insane.
According to NASA, the solution might be the Oculus Rift.
NASA has just given researchers at Dartmouth College a $1.6 million grant to add new virtual reality and conflict management content to existing Virtual Space Station programs.
This essentially means they'll be investigating the use of the Oculus Rift to create soothing environments to make astronauts keep calm when the stress of being in a confined space for almost a year.
Lorie Loeb, the Executive Director of the lab invested in the research says the idea is to create a space that will "to trick the brain and make people feel as if they are in a variety of beautiful and calm settings, such as with their family at home or strolling on the beach."
It sounds like Science Fiction, but it could become a reality.
The issue of mental health on long space flights has long been a concern for NASA. It looks like virtual reality could provide some sort of solution. This is important. I've seen Sunshine, Event Horizon or any science fiction movie for that matter. The last thing you want is some crazy astronaut wandering around your ship tearing shit up.
Via The Independent