Carnegie Mellon University scientists want to bring the moon closer with virtual reality

Sponsored Links

Carnegie Mellon University scientists want to bring the moon closer with virtual reality

Google's Lunar Xprize is still up for grabs, and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University think they have a chance of bagging the $30 million prize (which requires landing a robot on the Moon, moving it 500 meters and sending video back to Earth). The team's solution plans to beam footage back from the moon via a telepresence robot. Instead of simply broadcasting shots of the moon's surface, however, the scientists told the BBC they want to go a stage further and "bring the Moon back". How? By pairing the spacefaring robot with Oculus Rift headsets here on Earth; turn your head and the robot on the moon will supposedly turn in tandem via head-tracking. There were a few issues that had to be overcome, however. Namely, the Rift needs a pair of simultaneous video feeds to achieve a convincing virtual reality experience, and, by design it can't accept two streams.

The team says that it found solutions for these challenges, plus a few other hurdles (hopefully lag is one of them), after what they described as "a non-stop, day and night hackathon." The researchers are already in talks with SpaceX, and all going well should launch on the private space-firm's Falcon 9 craft sometime in 2016. The team's goals may be lofty, but we can't help admire them nonetheless. Ultimately, CMU wants hundreds of its robots on the moon and a Rift headset in every classroom -- allowing practically anyone to see what Apollo 11's crew saw 45 years ago.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget