NASA created a VR metaverse to prep astronauts for life on the lunar space station

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While most of us spend our time in the metaverse trading assets or bopping around in virtual realities on legless avatars, astronauts working with NASA and SpaceX are using it to prepare for life aboard a lunar space station that hasn’t been built yet. 

The first humans to make their homes in deep space, according to NASA, will be the team tasked with operating a space station currently under development called “Gateway.”

NASA, in a recent blog post, described Gateway as a “next-generation science lab, solar-powered spaceship, and home-away-from home” for international astronauts.

Astronauts have traditionally prepared for new missions through the use of physical and computer-based simulators. But the dawn of modern virtual reality headsets and advanced spatial computing technologies has made it possible for those planning to occupy deep space to gain the necessary skills to work and survive in an immersive 3-D environment.

Image source: NASA

The U.S. says Gateway will make its off-Earth debut no sooner than 2025 when its critical power and propulsion systems are set up in orbit around the Moon.

Its mission goes far beyond its humble beginnings in Earth’s backyard. According to NASA, Gateway is being set up as a staging point for the Artemis program, a U.S.-based initiative to build a crewed base on the Moon as the next step in humanity’s quest to put a human on Mars.

According to NASA:

“Gateway is a vital component of the NASA-led Artemis missions to return to the Moon and chart a path for the first human missions to Mars. The small space station will be a multi-purpose outpost orbiting the Moon and providing essential support for lunar surface missions, a destination for science, and a staging point for further deep space exploration.”

The astronauts tasked with maintaining and operating Gateway will face the daunting task of being the world’s first orbital space station crew to live and work in deep space — at a maximum distance of approximately 386,243 kilometers from the Earth. For comparison, astronauts aboard the International Space Station, which launched in 1998, operate at an average distance from Earth of about 400 kilometers.

Related: Lunar colony ‘unlikely’ by 2030, but that’s not the point — MoonDAO

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