One of Microsoft’s most ambitious projects of the last few decades is HoloLens, a prototype headset that displays holograms over the real world as you look around. Also known as augmented reality, the technology has so far-been used for mostly entertainment purposes, putting Minecraft on your tabletop, for example. But now Microsoft is teaming up with NASA to take HoloLens much further than its ever gone before: outer space, to be exact. NASA and Microsoft have already been testing HoloLens in weightless environments simulated on a plane:
Another setting, called “Procedure Mode,” will enable astronauts wearing HoloLens on the space station to see animated illustrations on top of the equipment they’re using, without the aid of ground operators.
Although just experimental for now, NASA and Microsoft both are optimistic about the future promise of the technology, saying it could eventually be used to help astronauts explore other worlds. “This new technology could also empower future explorers requiring greater autonomy on the journey to Mars,” said International Space Station program director Sam Scimemi in a statement released by NASA.