Every couple of hundred years or so there is an amazing advance in technology that propels human society forward. A long, long time ago, it was the discovery of fire that contributed to the survival and advancement of the human race. Then it was the development of written forms of language–first with hieroglyphics followed by the advent of an alphabet. The oil lit lamp existing for thousands of years before giving way to the first light bulb in 1879. Handwriting and calligraphy dominated the scene largely until the mid 1400s when the printing press stepped on the scene. And travel by ship and train was the norm until the first commercial flight took place in 1914. Then, around 55 years later, Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Since then, space exploration has progressed leaps and bounds–but scientists and astronomers have still yet to find a way to explore space to the extent seen in sci-fi movies and films. However, according to SpaceVR, it might not actually be that far off. The VR space exploration technology firm believes that deep space exploration is within grasp, all due to the progress made in the virtual reality and artificial intelligence industries.

Virtual Reality and the Possibility of Space Exploration

SpaceVR is a pioneer of virtual reality, hosting a variety of VR space exploration stunts in and around San Francisco. The company, whose self proclaimed purpose is to send virtual reality cameras into space “so anyone can explore the universe”, is starting with what they know best–virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Their purpose isn’t to actually send people to space, at least not yet. Company founder and CEO Ryan Holmes, according to reports, “believes that a stereoscopic experience with immersive visuals and remote operators is the best way to get at the promise offered by space.” The folks at SpaceVR believe that the exploration of other planets in our solar system is far closer than most people realize.

Holmes argues that robotics are the easiest and most cost effective way to explore the unknown parts of the universe. Robots for VR space exploration are by far less expensive in the long run and require much less maintenance. As long as the systems are working properly–which, to be sure, is not guaranteed–relatively little is required. In contrast, human explorers must be fed, hydrated, well-rested–even entertained. In quite an ambitious effort, Holmes wants to send out 10 million robots by the end of 2020. His goal is to automate the entire process. In his own words, “We are automating all human tasks… First we’re going to undercut all labor prices by powering Human with low cost labor… As these jobs are performed, we will introduce automation blocks one task at a time using the data gathered from the tasks being performed until all human tasks are automated.”

Though the product, a robot operated by a headset and sensor-enabled gloves used for VR space exploration, is somewhat of a gimmick, the future is bright for SpaceVR. As the team continues to advance and adapt the technology, they foresee themselves being able to send millions of robots into space, robots that are operated by humans on earth. The human-robot pairing will be able to conduct tests and complete tasks that would be near impossible–and mighty expensive–for humans to undertake themselves. It seems wild and untenable, but then again, so was landing a person on the moon until the world heard the famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”