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Broncos on the final frontier

A person walks with a VR headset at night

This year, Boise State students participated in a NASA student competition to design an augmented reality display and other equipment that would be useful in missions like NASA’s upcoming manned trip to the Moon in 2025. Steve Swanson, a retired astronaut and a Distinguished Educator in Residence at Boise State, converted his backyard into a simulated lunar landscape so students could test their devices, even enlisting a few fellow NASA astronauts to help.

The Boise State NASA SUITS tested their mixed reality application with NASA astronaut and Artemis II mission commander Reid Wiseman, NASA astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and NASA Flight Director Greg Whitney.

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This is not the first time Idaho has been a stand-in for the Moon.

In the 1960s, NASA trained Apollo astronauts at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The lunar-like terrain allowed them to practice geological exploration, sample collection and navigation for their upcoming missions.

The current NASA SUITS team consists of students from a variety of disciplines including GIMM (Games, Interactive Media and Mobile Technology), Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Astrophysics, Materials Science and Electrical Engineering.