NASA team explores mars from home wearing red-blue 3D glasses
 

NASA team explores mars from home wearing red-blue 3D glasses

during the ‘work from home’ era brought on by COVID-19, even the team at NASA is overcoming the new challenges of a home office. this group of remote workers has a very unique obstacle though, as they pilot the mars curiosity rover in their continuous exploration of mars. by march 20th, 2020, NASA had sent nearly all of its 17,000-person workforce home. when the team had left its base at the jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) in southern california, the rover’s operations continued for the very first time with the team completely remote. workers set up headsets and monitors at their home offices, but not all equipment was operable outside the lab. advanced 3D goggles — which require JPL’s powerful graphics cards — were smartly replaced with simple red-blue 3D glasses.

NASA 3D glasses
image courtesy of NASA jet propulsion laboratory | @nasajpl

 

 

with their 3D glasses, the pilots of NASA’s curiosity rover overcome the challenges of bringing advanced technology to the home office with an ingeniously simple solution. to study essential 3D images from mars, operators usually rely on the use of special goggles which rapidly shift between left- and right-eye views to better reveal the contours of the landscape. this technology has long helped them operate the rover and determine how far they can extend its robotic arm. however, these goggles require the advanced graphics cards in JPL’s high-performance repurposed gaming computers. as the now remote team needs to view 3D images on ordinary laptops, they have found that simple red-blue 3D glasses work just as well for planning drives and arm movements — while not quite as immersive or comfortable as the goggles.

NASA 3D glasses
image courtesy of NASA

 

 

since working from home on march 20th, the team at NASA JPL ran through several tests and one full practice run before successfully drilling through a rock sample using their red-blue 3D glasses two days later. this drilling operation took place at a location called ‘edinburgh.’ alongside technology obstacles, the operators have seen a new challenge in working away from their team members. team leader alicia allbaugh elaborates: ‘we’re usually all in one room, sharing screens, images and data. people are talking in small groups and to each other from across the room.’ science operations team chief carrie bridge further comments on the unique experience: ‘it’s classic, textbook NASA. we’re presented with a problem and we figure out how to make things work. mars isn’t standing still for us; we’re still exploring.‘ 

NASA 3D glasses
image courtesy of NASA

 

 

explore mars and check out the current location and communication activity of all operating landers, rovers, and orbiters that transmit data to earth via NASA’s mars relay network.

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