instantreality 1.0


Educational 3D Visualization of Astronaut Motion in Microgravity

January 25th, 2010

In this joint project of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the MIT Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, researchers collaborated with visual artists to create three-dimensional visualizations of astronaut motion in microgravity. Through the graphical user interface, which is implemented in X3D, students can interactively explore how astronauts rotate in a microgravity environment without using any external torques, i.e. without contact from the surroundings. These rotations are simulated with results from recent research in astronautics [Stirling, Ph.D. thesis, 2008] using mathematical algorithms that implement core curriculum concepts, such as conservation of linear and angular momentum. The computer character, which was modeled and texture-mapped in Maya®, wears a next generation astronaut space suit which MIT researchers develop for NASA.

Project website