VR2Planets: virtual reality for geosciences
Séminaires Planétologie et Sciences Spatiales
522, bât. Lamarck
Virtual Reality (VR) is a powerful technique able to project a person into a three- dimensional, computer generated environment, which can be then fully and freely explored. The person is not only immersed within this environment, but can also interact and manipulate objects, and perform a whole set of actions. One of the most significant advantages of virtual reality is its ability to project humans into worlds that are not accessible to the human experience. This can be distant or non habitable worlds, such as planets and stars (surface or interior), or mathematical worlds, like physical 3D fields associated with seismic or gravitational waves. Today, I present you Mars! The interpretation of geomorphologic features on planetary surfaces often relies on the quality of the acquired data, i. e. high resolution images (eventually at different wavelengths) and topographic models derived either by laser altimetry, stereoscopic imaging, or differential radar interferometry. The data handling itself also plays a role in our capacity to apprehend accurately the environment which has been imaged. For example, it might be difficult to analyze a layered outcrop on a full 360 panorama rendered on a flat screen only, due to the distortions induced by the projections. When such a 360° panorama is integrated into a virtual reality headset, the user can look in any direction and see the landscape as if he were standing by himself in the middle of the scene, and see the nearby rocks, outcrops, and geological features such as layers without any distortion. Similarly, flying in real time over a reconstructed landscape allows a better understanding of the stratigraphic relationships between several geological units. Better than discussing about interest of this technology, you have to live it.