Nasa Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Nasa RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network NASA is using Microsoft's Hololens Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:03:05 -0400 OrganisedDinosaur

It's safe to say that Microsoft certainly impressed its fans, if not stole the show, at E3 2015 with their demonstration of their augmented reality device, Hololens. Particularly in light of the fact that Sony's Project Morpheus Virtual Reality was practically a no-show, it was a definite victory and impressive day for Microsoft.

As if the idea of augmented reality in our living rooms wasn't enticing enough, it is now apparent that the tech is so good that NASA is using it. Running an application called Sidekick, Hololens will be assisting with training and procedures on the International Space Station. Two pairs of Hololens and Sidekick are due to be delivered to the International Space Station the next time it is resupplied on June 28th 2015. Check out the video below to see it in action:


Sidekick has two main modes. The first, known as Remote Expert mode, allows a technician on the ground to see through the eyes of the astronaut and guide them through a procedure, as well as drawing and highlighting directly onto the astronaut's vision.

The second mode, known as Procedure mode, is far more traditional augmented reality. Text overlays and other illustrations will appear on real-world objects in order to make procedures easier. It will also reduce the training required for certain functions.

What do you think of NASA using Microsoft's Hololens? Will you be getting one when it comes out? Let us know in the comments!

5 Kick-Ass Women in the Game Industry Sun, 04 May 2014 20:06:13 -0400 WesleyG


Amy Hennig got her Bachelor's degree in English literature from Cal University with her eyes set on the film industry, until she took at job as an artist for Atari. While working on the game Electrocop, she decided that games are "a more interesting and pioneering medium than film" and dropped out of film school to begin her gaming career.


She became the lead designer on Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City before she made a name for herself at Crystal Dynamics as the writer, producer, and director of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. She's best known for her work at Naughty Dog on the Uncharted franchise as game director of the original as well as head writer on Among Thieves and Drake's Deception (the last two earned her the Writer's Guild Award for Video Game Writing in 2010 and 2012).


After being reportedly "forced out" of Naughty Dog back in March, she's now working at Visceral Games as the creative director of a currently unknown Star Wars project. If Uncharted 4 takes a dip in quality while a Star Wars game suddenly becomes the new benchmark in storytelling in video games, you'll know why.


Who are some of your favorite women in the game industry? Leave a comment and let us know who deserves to be recognized.


At the age of 12 years old, Corrinne Yu took advantage of the Apple II donated to her junior high school and began programming games. She's credited as an elite programmer on the classic King's Quest series on the Apple II, as well as creating the game engines that would power such games as Borderlands, Halo 4, Quake 2, and others.


Outside of the game industry, she's also programmed for NASA in a key role on America’s Space Shuttle Program at Rockwell International California, making her one of the only people to program both real and virtual spaceships. She's currently working at Naughty Dog, coding animation and graphics for PS4 titles including a remastered edition of The Last of Us.


Kim Swift got her start in games at the Digipen Institute of Technology where she helped code a puzzle game called Narbacular Drop. Kim and her team exhibited the game at a Digipen career fair, where Valve developer Robin Walker invited her and her team to do a presentation of the game for Valve. The team accepted and after their presentation Gabe Newell gave the entire team a job offer to build a new game just like Narbacular Drop.


Kim Swift would become the lead designer on that new game which the world would come to know as Portal. Kim would continue to work on other Valve games such as Left for Dead 1 & 2 before leaving the company in November of 2009 to join Airtight Games.


She created games such as Quantum Conundrum and the Ouya exclusive Soul Fjord before being hired by Amazon last month to help bolster Amazon's new video game development studio. According to Kim's very own LinkedIn page, she's currently "working on secret things for a secret amount of time that no one can know about. Shhhhh."


Robin Hunicke studied "dynamic difficulty adjustment in games" as a graduate student at Northwestern University. During her studies she worked on a mod for Half-Life that adjusted the game's difficulty based on the player's performance before Left 4 Dead's AI Director became a thing.


After a conversation with Will Wright at a conference, she decided to make the jump into the game industry, designing expansion packs for The Sims and becoming the lead designer on MySims. She's best known for her work with thatgamecompany as the Executive Producer for Journey. She's currently the co-founder and CEO of Funomena working on a mostly-unannounced commercial game.


What drives her is her desire to create games that elicit feelings from the player. She recently spoke at Humlab in Sweden about a concept she calls "Feeling-First Games." The short version of it tasks independent developers with building games centered around the desired emotional outcome of the game instead of building games around which mechanics you want to use (is it a shooter, a racing game, etc).


Lets start this list with one of the most well known female voices in indie gaming today, Zoe Quinn.


She's the creator of Depression Quest and a frequent participant of game jams. She's also well-known for being the constant target of harassment that ranges from misspelled attacks to in-depth conspiracy theories. In an industry that would rather cover up and ignore, her willingness to share that harassment in an effort to shed light on the underbelly of the gaming community has made her a respected figure for equality in gaming.


Personally, I'd recommend everyone go play Depression Quest, which is free to play on her website. It wasn't an easy game for me as it brought up memories and feelings from my own struggles with depression back in high school and college.


She's currently working on It's Not Okay, Cupid, a game based on the dating site OK Cupid, and is the narrative designer on Framed.

NASA and Project Whitecard Studios Announces Starlite: Astronaut Rescue Tue, 28 Jan 2014 06:24:31 -0500 Game Oracle

Project Whitecard Studios in partnership with NASA recently announced the development and release of Starlite: Astronaut Rescue on Steam.

Just one installment of the Starlite series the partnership is planning on developing, this title allows players to experience the excitement and thrill of being part of a mission to inhabit the Red Planet. Deciding to suit up and get-in-the-game will allow you to get a feeling for life on an alien planet.

Starlite: Astronaut Rescue challenges gamers to travel to the Red Planet and then construct tools and implement current robotics technology to build suitable accommodations for an extended visit. Players have help from a virtual crewmate during their 20-minute adventure, which quickly turns into a thrilling life or death struggle--you’ll need intelligence to survive. Aspiring astronauts must combine modern physics and engineering knowledge with mathematical ability to stay alive and complete the mission. 

CEO of Project Whitecard, Khal Shariff said,

“Working in collaboration with NASA, University of California Irvine, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation on concepts used in Starlite: Astronaut Rescue and Starlite the larger game is the opportunity of a lifetime. As game developers we are honored to be able to contribute to mankind's exploration in our own unique way. SAR is just a peek of what we have in store.”

“We invite players to try out this mission and contribute ideas on the forum as we work on the more expansive NASA Starlite game. Where will we explore first? Will bases be underground or on the surface? What will robots have evolved to 20 years from now?”

Gamers wanting to play Starlite: Astronaut Rescue can buy the game here. Players can also read the latest news and view information on the series here. While you’re there, make sure to read about the Starlite plans for a unique multiplayer online video game called Starlite: Astronaut Academy. If you have thought about being an astronaut or astrophysicist, take a look at this new video game. You could be the first human to walk on Mars.

This Week on GameSkinny Episode Two Sun, 23 Jun 2013 12:28:46 -0400 Rothalack

I wish I could have gotten this out earlier this week, but getting back from E3 and recovering from that then Friday night's ESO All-Stars podcast made me have to take up my weekend for this, just for you!

The articles I feature from this week are listed below:

Last I would like to give a shout out to TotalBiscuit... Or CynicalBrit, whichever you prefer to call him.  He's a big YouTuber (if you didn't already know) that made a gameplay video of Transistor by special request.  What makes it special is he left out any commentary because of the insane audio quality of Transistor.  I wanted to thank him for supplying that gameplay.  If you haven't seen anything by CynicalBrit, go check him out!

For next week's Round Up go to the forum post where you can give all your nominations!

Streamed NASA Video Game Demo Clearly Rips Off EVE Online Sat, 15 Jun 2013 19:19:31 -0400 Mat Westhorpe

Like Valve, US video game developer NASA chose not appear at the E3 Expo, instead opting to stream live footage of their latest game from Houston earlier today.

On reviewing the footage, it is little wonder NASA were unwilling to show their faces or their product at E3 – it was unlikely to have received much attention, or at least nothing positive.

The as yet untitled game, which appears to be a multiplayer space docking simulator, is painfully slow and even the 30+ participants in the demonstration were in desperate need of stimulation - one woman broadcasting on voice-comms was calling for "coffee" after every sentence.

NASA also appear to have borrowed heavily from EVE Online, with some of the game environments bearing a striking resemblance to the celebrated Captain's Quarters found in EVE's space stations - even down to the scale model/holoprojection on the table.

NASA: The US Control Room environment is where players can control their vessels and communicate with other teams.

EVE Online: The Captain's Quarters is where players can... erm... get dressed, sit on a sofa and watch future TV.

Also possibly of interest to CCP's copyright lawyers is some of the gameplay – the sheer investment of time required to achieve anything in NASA's game owes much to EVE Online's waiting mechanic design philosophy, with the docking process taking as much time as the preparation for an EVE fleet operation. 

NASA: The French controlled ATV-4 with a cargo of fuel and supplies coming very slowly into dock at the International Space Station orbiting Earth.

EVE Online: A Gallente Iteron-class hauler carrying fuel, supplies and exotic dancers coming into dock at Zoar & Sons Factory Station orbiting Nakatre IX

In the two-hour gameplay session we observed, it took the three teams—located in the United States, Russia and France—the entire time to dock a single Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), with no discernable PvP mechanic throughout the entire process (unless we can count what may have been a brief flash of weapon fire toward the end of the operation).

NASA: Did an unknown assailant open fire with a multispectral laser barrage as the ATV docked? Bloody station campers.

EVE Online: Brightly-coloured weapon fire done right. 

The poor fidelity of the visuals shows that NASA has a long way to go if they think they can reach the heights already achieved within the video game industry. The ship and station designs are unimaginative and tubular...

NASA: The International Space Station (not actual gameplay footage).

EVE Online: A Caldari military station (actual gameplay footage).

The strategy elements on the campaign map are poorly presented with planetary interaction being even less interactive than EVE's much loved equivalent. There's not even the option for planetary bombardment as found in EVE Online's link with DUST 514.

NASA: Zoe has claimed Southern Asia and Shakira seems to be holding the Baltics. Who says girls don't like sci-fi and strategy?

EVE Online: Interacting with planets since 2010.

To be perfectly frank, NASA need to go back to the drawing board, the user interface is unacceptable in the modern age of computing and makes the creakiest elements of EVE's decade-old UI look positively fresh.

NASA: With this lack of polish on their UI, their claims of "NO_FAILURE" may be a little optimistic.

EVE Online: Actually pretty damn stunning apart from the ugly text boxes.

I'm sorry to say that the space sci-fi niche is comfortably occupied by EVE Online and this NASA thing will never take off. They should probably consider another line of work if they can't even get the basics of video game design right. After all, it's not rocket science.

Oh, wait...

[NASA screenshots taken from today's livestream of the ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle 'Albert Einstein' docking with the International Space Station. Amazing stuff. EVE Online is also pretty cool and almost as real.]

Oculus Rift and Other Gaming Tech Take You Out of This World Wed, 08 May 2013 22:59:34 -0400 Max Graham

Technology originally designed for video games often finds its way into other industries. Whether it is Microsoft Kinect allowing a robot to navigate an environment or a whole bunch of PS3s simulating a nuclear explosion -- gaming technology is often used for more than it was originally intended for.

The newest gaming tech to finding itself outside of your living room is the Oculus Rift, a head mounted virtual reality system which was originally designed to immerse you in your favorite games, such as Team Fortress 2. Recently NASA and the European Space Agency (E.S.A.) began testing ways of incorporating this technology into their next generations of robotics for space exploration.

(The Heavy from TF2 sporting an Oculus Rift, Image from

Scientists are currently investigating how such systems may be used to allow humans to better operate and control these units from great distances. During this year's Game Developers Conference, Victor Luo and Jeff Norris from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab got on stage and controlled the ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer), using the LEAP motion sensor. By simply performing gestures with his hand, Luo had  the robot moving in kind, despite being located 383 miles away in Pasadena. A veritable virtual puppet master, they impressed spectators who were able to watch the explorer's movements through Google Hangout video chat.

(The Leap Motion Sensor in Action, Image from

It is the hope of scientists and engineers that virtual reality aids like the Oculus Rift would allow a greater sense of immersion, facilitating the manipulation of robotic components in a more intuitive manner. Besides helping with exploration, these kinds of sensors may also be used to control repair drones in space, or perform complicated flight docking procedures. 

Regardless of where these systems ends up, they have tremendous potential and countless applications, like many other forms of technologies made popular by gaming. With a community so willing to support new innovations,  expect to see even more gaming tech make its way into other industries, planets and beyond. 


Dark Side of the Jam: Make Space Games With NASA! Tue, 05 Mar 2013 16:21:35 -0500 HC Billings

This weekend (the 8th through 10th of March 2013, for all you time-addled space explorers out there), game developers across the planet (perhaps even the entire galaxy), will band together with the aid of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to make aerospace discovery cool again (like it was ever not cool). 

The Dark Side of the Jam is open to all, whether you’re a veteran developer, hobbyist, or student. Ideally your games will not only be great achievements in coding prowess, but will help capture the public’s interest in the real science and technology advancements being made in aerospace exploration.

The great thing about the Dark Side of the Jam is its inclusion. If you live in one of five high-density areas (Mountain View, CA; Concord, NH; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Seattle, WA; Sn Luis Obispo, CA), you can join other Jammers in the weekend-long event. Some locations even come with provided housing. Or, if you're alone in the deep recesses of space, you can participate via satellite location. 

NASA will be providing a large list of tools for the game-makers, including sound bytes of celestial bodies, texture models, and raw images of the surface of Mars. (Arguably the most attention-consuming tools that NASA is providing is called Extreme Planet Makeover, a simulation resource that allows users to build their own wildly variable planet environment.)

Game jam attendees typically have some experience with programming or producing digital art or other media used in game production (sound, music, etc.). While not required, some pre-existing knowledge of one or more of the above will definitely be helpful. But if you’ve never made a game before, have no fear! Game jams are a great place to learn a new skill.

If you've never made a game before, and you're looking to learn, and you think space is the coolest thing in the universe (har har), you can sign up to be a part of this radical game jam at