NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens. OnSight will give scientists a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet.

OnSight will use holographic computing to overlay visual information and data from the Mars Curiosity Rover into the user's field of view. (NASA)

OnSight will use real rover data and extend the Curiosity mission’s existing planning tools by creating a 3D simulation of the Martian environment where scientists around the world can meet. OnSight uses holographic computing to overlay visual information and rover data into the user's field of view. To view this holographic realm, members of the Curiosity mission team don a Microsoft HoloLens device, which surrounds them with images from the rover's Martian field site.

The OnSight tool also will be useful for planning rover operations. For example, scientists can program activities for many of the rover's science instruments by looking at a target and using gestures to select menu commands. NASA plans to begin testing OnSight in Curiosity mission operations later this year.