The Smithsonian and Meta Partner to Develop a VR-powered ‘Moonwalk’ Experience for Visitors

The Smithsonian and Meta Partner to Develop a VR-powered ‘Moonwalk’ Experience for Visitors

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A partnership between Meta and the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall is set to take visitors onboard the 1969 Apollo 11 mission through a Meta Quest 2 VR headset. The experience will take the participants through the journey onboard the Eagle spacecraft and enable them to walk on the Moon.

“You can literally walk around and look and see the lunar buggy next to you and look down and see the rocks and look at the horizon,” said Rachel Goslins, Director of the Arts and Industries Building.

The ‘Moonwalk’ exhibit opens on May 4 as the Smithsonian and museums around the world are building many use cases for virtual reality to bring their visitors as close to the exhibits as possible. Moreover, the initiative also aims to promote the recently revamped Arts and Industries Building, focusing on disseminating ways to explore the future.

The exhibit is a constituent of the much broader ongoing series highlighting the potential ‘artifacts of the future.’ The series relies on over 7,000 photos taken by NASA astronauts on missions to the Moon being used to create immersive, 3D experiences through photogrammetry.

“There’s just a very large collection of scanned objects that are able to be accessed through our technology,” says Monica Arés, Head of Meta Immersive Learning.

The conversations between the astronauts and Mission Control staff have also been included within the experience to provide visitors with a more comprehensive representation of the entire mission.

Nevertheless, this is not the first time the Arts and Industries Building is hosting an exhibit related to the lunar expeditions of the 1960s and ’70s. The museum had brought a rock retrieved from the lunar surface to its visitors just a few weeks after the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

The Smithsonian and Meta have also previously collaborated to create a virtual tour of Venice, currently available online. The ‘Moonwalk’ experience is their first in-museum collaborative exhibition.

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