Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars is a VR experience in which the astronaut’s 3D hologram guides viewers through a plan to send humans to Mars. This free VR app, created by 8i and Time Inc's LIFE VR, is available on Steam and for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Pros:

As a member of the first mission to the moon, Buzz Aldrin is a legend in the history of space travel and it’s incredible to see him standing in front of you. Through his hologram image, he conveys his enthusiasm for Mars settlement, and by the end of the experience I too was inspired by the possibilities. The story effectively connects past achievements to a vision for the future.

On the HTC Vive, the experience was smooth with minimal slowdowns or glitches. Anyone, regardless of experience, could use this app. The story has a clear logical arc and the visual landscapes bring Buzz’s vision to life. Seeing the Mars settlement in VR helped me to picture what life on Mars would be like in a way I otherwise couldn’t have. This app would be great in the classroom as a way to engage students in a discussion about space exploration, or in a museum or other learning space.

Cons:

The experience isn’t interactive, but more like watching a movie. More interaction, for example, getting a chance to explore the Mars settlement in some way, would better engage the viewer.

Also, some of the ideas Buzz explained were so complex that it would have been helpful to slow down a bit. For example, it wasn’t clear why mining needed to take place on the moon, rather than on Earth, to support space travel to Mars.

Our Takeaway:

Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars is an inspirational VR experience that gives viewers a chance to meet a space legend and become more excited about space exploration.

Image: by Life VR Viveport