NASA uses VR to fight the isolation of Mars pioneers

NASA has scheduled their Journey to Mars to land humans on the surface of the Red Planet in the 2030s. The return trip to Mars is expected to last between a year and a half, not counting the time spent on the surface of the planet by the pioneers.

In preparation, a team of 6 volunteer scientists completed NASA's HI-SEAS simulation mission and closed themselves off to the rest of the world for 8 months. This allowed NASA to study how isolation and the lack of privacy in a small group affects the mental health and social interactions of pioneers. During the HI-SEAS simulation, NASA launched a pilot project to deliver virtual reality recordings of Moon astronaut Buzz Aldrin and comedian Reggie Watts, designed to improve morale and combat isolation. The preliminary results of the pilot are very promising.  The VR recordings of Aldrin and Watts will be made available to the general public on Life VR.