NASA Engineers Working From Home Need Old-School 3D Glasses

Remember before Avatar when 3D meant wearing those red-blue 3D glasses like a dork from the '50s? Fast forward a bit, and those pairs of 3D glasses we threw out for being a cheap piece crap could've made a huge difference to a NASA engineer.

Like many of us, the folks working on NASA's Curiosity rover had to start working from home. Anticipating that they'd have some legit mission work to carry out, they tried to recreate their work stations as best they could. A lot of the equipment they use at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA was able to be shipped to their homes, save for one thing.

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To have a working POV for Curiosity, the people navigating have to be able to see where they're going. Usually, they use a dope set of goggles because even annoying extra face wear is automatically cooler when you work for NASA. The goggles can toggle automatically between a left eye focus and a right eye focus, turning a video from Mars into a three-dimensional experience that allows for interaction with the Martian surface. It's like if Beaker's experiments from the MuppetVision 3D attraction at Disney World had actual scientific value.

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The problem is that these goggles require a graphics card that your "Why don't you just build your own PC?" nerd friend would absolutely shit his pants trying to obtain -- a graphics card that even NASA engineers don't have running on their home computers. They're already running a ton of video conferences and messaging programs at the same time, so they needed a low-tech solution and fast. So, hey, if you can't have immersive 3D goggles, why not just pull out some old paper 3D glasses with the red-blue see-thru film?

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It worked, too. Just two days after having to start their work-from-home situation, they were able to successfully conduct a drilling operation at a site known as "Edinburgh." Good to know they're handling Mars just fine, on the off chance that we have to ship humanity up there sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Top Image: yoggy0/Wiki Commons

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