Engineers at American aerospace company Lockheed Martin are using Microsoft mixed reality smartglass HoloLens to build NASA’s Orion spacecraft designed to transport humans to destinations such as the Moon and eventually Mars, and return them safely back to Earth, the MIT Technology Review reported.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building NASA’s Orion spaceship.
The technicians at the firm use the HoloLens to learn a task or check the directions in 15-minute increments rather than for a constant feed of instructions.
For the team constructing the heat shield skeleton of Orion, the new technology takes the place of a 1,500-page binder full of written work instructions, thereby helping them to perform tasks faster, said the report on Tuesday.
NASA’s partnership with Microsoft on HoloLens is not new.
In 2015, the US space agency announced that it was teaming up with the software giant to develop Sidekick, a new project using commercial technology to empower astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Sidekick uses Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working off the Earth, for the Earth. A pair of the devices was launched to the ISS on December 6, 2015.
Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area where the Vikram moon lander is likely to have touched down on the moon and it may be a while before they can locate it, project experts told IANS.
LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Noah Petro, said on Wednesday that they were now analysing the images taken on Tuesday “and we will make a statement at some point when we can identify the lander.”
But he added, “It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh.”
Therefore, it “could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity to image the landing site next October 14” when the LRO next passes over that area of the moon.
The principal investigator for the LRO camera, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, said that the last image of the area was acquired on Wednesday and will take time to analyse as there are “lots and lots and lots of pixels” to go through.
A NASA statement carried a note of caution saying that when the LRO flew over the Vikram landing the “local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area.”
The LROC “acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view,” NASA said.
“The LROC team will analyze these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area),” it added.