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RCA graduate proposal would see ordinary people driving NASA’s space exploration rovers

Royal College of Art graduate Brian Black has designed a concept rover and virtual-reality interface that would allow anyone on earth to contribute to space exploration missions.

His vision would see participants driving the rovers over real planets and moons, and collecting samples for analysis, all via a virtual-reality (VR) headset.

Installed in galleries, universities or other public places, the VR experience would function as an engagement mechanism during future interplanetary missions by NASA and other space agencies.

Black – a masters student in Vehicle Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA) –titled his project the Overview Effect, after a phrase used to describe the awe and change in attitude that astronauts commonly report experiencing once they see the earth from orbit.

His hope is that virtual reality can afford people on earth the same opportunity for attitudinal shifts.

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