Thursday, July 18, 2024

Jumping on an asteroid: How VR is being used to visit worlds we can never reach

I’m standing so close to JAXA’s Hayabusa2 asteroid lander that I could reach out and touch it. Instead, I jump on top of it. Then I strike a pose. When I leap off, I float for a moment in the low gravity before touching down gently on the surface of Ryugu, a craggy, gray world devoid of life and color. 

The “Iin this situation is my avatar, a digital approximation of myself that has a more consistent beard length and isn’t constantly rubbing sleep from its eyes. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft I stood on, and the asteroid beneath, are digital avatars too, recreated in virtual reality

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