Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex debuts limited-time experience that will take guests on an adventure on Mars with Buzz Aldrin and Curiosity Rover driver Erisa Hines of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Above, from left to right: Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Robert Cabana, Director, John F. Kennedy Space Center; Buzz Aldrin, ShareSpace Foundation founder and Apollo 11 astronaut; Kudo Tsunoda, CVP Next Gen Experiences, Windows & Devices Group HoloLens/Microsoft; and Dr. Jeff Norris, Mission Operations Innovation Lead, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) cut the ribbon for Destination: Mars at a ceremony yesterday.
Technology developed by Microsoft and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab brings visitors to the next frontier
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CAPE CANAVERAL – (September 19, 2016) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – A walk on Mars may be in the future for astronauts, but at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, guests don’t have to wait. A new, limited-time attraction Destination: Mars, which opened today, makes it possible to “walk on Mars” using real imagery from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover brought to life by Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10. Presented exclusively by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the experience will be located in a pop-up theater and will only be available through January 1, 2017.
“The opportunity to get up close and personal with a walk on Mars is so exciting and we can’t wait for our guests to experience the thrill of it,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “We’re particularly honored to offer Destination: Mars, as it is exclusive to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, offering our guests an experience they can’t have anywhere else: a real look into NASA’s work on Mars.”
Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and Microsoft HoloLens, Destination: Mars will give guests the opportunity to “visit” several sites on Mars using real imagery from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover. A holographic Buzz Aldrin will guide guests to Mars in mixed reality using Microsoft HoloLens (Mixed reality means that virtual elements are merged with the user’s actual environment, creating a world in which real and virtual objects can interact). Visitors will “follow” Buzz and Curiosity Rover driver Erisa Hines of JPL, as they lead guests to areas of Mars where scientists have made exciting discoveries.
Destination: Mars grew out of OnSight, a scientific tool created by JPL and Microsoft currently used internationally by researchers. Scientists in different cities can walk together across the Martian surface, discuss geological features and plan for future exploration. The mixed reality tool allows them to study the Red Planet in a more naturalistic way than ever before. OnSight also helps to prepare scientists and engineers for NASA’s goal of a manned mission to Mars.
“We’re thrilled to partner with NASA’s JPL in enabling a whole new way for its scientists to study Mars via Microsoft HoloLens, and now we’re excited to finally offer the public a glimpse into NASA’s use of this transformative technology,” said Scott Erickson, general manager, Microsoft HoloLens.
This limited availability, timed experience is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations must be made the day of at the Destination: Mars reservation counter.
For more information or to book a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visit
For more information on Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality:
More information about JPL’s use of mixed reality research tools is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6220.
About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, where NASA made history and where it’s still being made. Experience a full day or more of fun and educational activities, including the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere, Rocket Garden, the new Cosmic Quest and many other interactive exhibits. Opening Nov. 11, 2016, is Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
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