New high-tech moon rover will send back live 3D video controlled by Oculus Rift

Contributed by
Oct 23, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT (Updated)

Ever since Oculus Rift debuted its 3D headset, they’ve used it for everything from virtual tours to piloting a 3D Jaeger from Pacific Rim. But this looks like it’ll trump them all.

As Popular Science reports, a team at Carnegie Mellon has designed a new moon rover that can be controlled via the Oculus Rift headset — meaning that if you’re wearing this thing, you can essentially look around the moon in real time. In 3D. That’s freaking awesome.

The robot is named Andy, and will allow folks on Earth to see through its camera and navigate the camera in 3D by moving their head around. The team, via Astrobotic, has struck a deal with Space X to have the craft included on a scheduled 2016 moon mission. Long-term, the team would like to have hundreds of Andys roaming the moon, to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to "walk" on the moon.

As team leader Daniel Shafrir told BBC News about the Google Lunar XPrize: 

“The vision was simple -- let anyone on Earth experience the Moon live through the eyes of a robot. We weren't just going to go to the Moon. We are going to bring the Moon back. Imagine the feeling of looking out and seeing rocks and craters billions of years old. Turn your head to the right and you see the dark expanse of space. Turn your head to the left and you see home, Earth.”

This is an insanely cool prospect, and it's a unique twist on the age-old problems of space exploration. Yes, we’re getting closer to making it happen, but we’re still a very (very) long way away from people taking a jaunt to Luna Park to check out Whalers on the Moon as a vacation stop. So this could be the next-best thing.

What do you think of the project?

(Via Popular Science)

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