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Astronauts On The International Space Station Will Try Out Microsoft HoloLens Gear

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NASA
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NASA and Microsoft engineers test Project Sidekick on NASA’s Weightless Wonder C9 jet. Project Sidekick will use Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working on the International Space Station.";

Two holographic devices made by Microsoft and NASA are scheduled to lift off in a spacecraft from Cape Canaveral this Sunday on a resupply mission headed for the International Space Station. Astronauts on board the space station, including Scott Kelly, will test out the high-tech headsets.

Here's one way they could be used: Say something breaks on the space station and you need to fix it. You're orbiting 200 miles away from earth and need to reach an expert at Mission Control in Houston.

NASA spokesman Dan Huot says with this technology, using Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality device and Skype, Mission Control could offer advice.

"What that is going to be able to do is actually allow a ground operator, someone down here on the ground, to see through the crew member’s eyes and then provide real-time guidance through voice communication, be able to draw annotations, animations and things like that into the crew’s environment to kind of coach them through a task," Huot said. 

HoloLens is a device you wear on your head that projects holograms into your field of vision.

Huot says another possible use is as a virtual how-to guide that could help astronauts who venture farther from earth – say, on a mission to Mars.

NASA scientists have already teamed up with Microsoft to use HoloLens to create 3-D simulations of Mars using data from the Curiosity rover.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.