I’ve been to Mars to kick the tires on NASA’s Curiosity rover – and you can take that trip as well.
Not in reality, of course, but in virtual reality: The tours of Curiosity’s surroundings near Mount Sharp are being provided courtesy of Seattle’s Museum of Flight during this weekend’s SpaceFest gathering.
There’s a whole program of activities, built on the theme of “Ladies Who Launch.” Speakers include Nathalia Holt, the author of “Rise of the Rocket Girls”; South Korean astronaut Soyeon Yi; women from Boeing, Vulcan Aerospace, SpaceX, Planetary Resources and Blue Origin; and Amy Shira Teitel, who’s the author of “Breaking the Chains of Gravity” and the blogger behind Vintage Space.
The virtual reality tours are sure to be a hot ticket as well. In cooperation with Valve, the VR/gaming company based in Bellevue, Wash., the museum made the Mars experience available during last year’s SpaceFest. Hundreds took turns wearing an HTC Vive headset and pacing carefully around a virtual Red Planet.
“We put 300 people on Mars before NASA did,” exhibit designer Peder Nelson joked.