A NASA flight surgeon explored the strange new world of holoportation during a recent (virtual) trip into space.
While stuck on Earth with the rest of us, Josef Schmid’s team were the first humans to become a hologram on the International Space Station in October 2021. Naturally, he had to display the famous “Live Long And Prosper” sign. ” from star trek in orbit while he was “up there”.
“This is a completely new way of human communication over great distances,” Schmid said in a recent NASA press release, which revealed the out-of-this-world visit with the astronauts earlier this month. Schmid is no stranger to innovative exploration, in fact, as he also participated in the 2007 NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) undersea space simulation mission along with other astronauts.
But Schmid said holoportation is a benefit, since you don’t have to go far for your presence to be heard elsewhere. “It is a new form of human exploration, where our human entity can travel outside the planet. Our physical body is not there, but our human entity is absolutely there,” Schmid said. (How holoportation compares to the metaverse, which is the option available to most of us at the moment, is not yet known.)
Fortunately, Schmid’s visit to the space station was a test of Microsoft’s Hololens technology and not an emergency medical visit, like the one the USS Voyager astronauts used to require through their friendly (but comical) medical holographic program. of emergency.
That said, this doctor’s visit was not a virtual joyride, as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the problems of providing medical care to people stranded in remote communities far from doctors, during a situation where travel it can be even more dangerous than usual. And there are other situations where this type of communication would be useful, NASA said.
“Whether it is in other extreme environments like Antarctica, offshore oil rigs, or theaters of military operations, this type of technology can help people in such situations to communicate, bringing people together regardless of distance or challenges. environmental,” the agency said.
NASA plans to continue tests on the space station in search of medical options for the Moon and Mars, the agency added. They plan to combine holoportation with augmented reality scenarios to provide even more remote assistance to astronauts during medical or engineering work.