Eyes on the Sky
As Extended Reality technologies continue to grow exponentially and recent studies suggest learning enhancement through virtual reality use, the University of Texas at Austin has developed the birth of the world’s first immersive experience focused on space environmentalism and sustainability: http://www.eyesonthesky.org
We rely on satellites for cable and network television, GPS navigation systems, climate and environmental monitoring, and space exploration. However, did you know that NASA has identified micrometeoroids and orbital debris as “the number one risk for NASA’s human spaceflight programs?” Space exploration is in jeopardy from millions of tiny bits of metal: space debris or “space junk”. In the next five years, US companies alone plan to launch an additional 20,000 satellites. For humanity to continue to benefit from space services, we have to change our ways significantly.
Moriba Jah, professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and a specialist in orbital mechanics compares navigating space junk to crossing an interstate highway with a blind-fold on: we don't know what and when something will hit. Professor Jah has created http://bit.ly/astriagraph which tracks 26,000 satellites and objects that orbit the Earth. However, more needs to be done. It is increasingly likely that a space collision will happen within the next decade if the dangers of space debris aren’t resolved. Public Understanding of the space junk crisis and increased awareness and regulation from our elected officials is crucial.
Eyes on the Sky is an immersive experience that will increase awareness of the dangers of space junk and take participants on an interactive and emotional journey. The 20-minute story begins with an introduction to your guide, Moriba Jah, who is conducting important research and wants to share it with you. You travel together to the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, watch the night sky come to life with stories of our ancestors, meet friends on the International Space Station and catch a glimpse of the future – a future you have a part to play in.
This exhibit will engage eight participants at once in the immersive SkyDome, with a goal of 10,000 people visiting per year. The Mixed Reality experience combines physical and digital assets, and the SkyDome is a combination of projection mapping and cutting-edge extended reality technology. These technologies create an unparalleled interactive and emotional experience. Uniting six of the leading researchers and professors from the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, Moody College of Communication, and the College of Fine Arts, Eyes on the Sky’s goal is to increase public awareness and foster a new sustainable development goal recognized by the United Nations. Eyes on the Sky desires for hearts, minds, and eyes to look upward, protecting and preserving our Earth and space for generations to come.
Sources: https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/what-are-satellites-used (shares what we rely on satellites for)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131519303276 (regarding learning enhancement)