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Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars

Background

In 2017, volumetric video technology company 8i partnered with TIME and LIFE VR to create the first legacy virtual reality experience: Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars. The experience allows users to virtually meet a VR hologram of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and travel with him from his landing site on the moon to the surface of Mars.

By bringing 8i’s expertise and innovative technology together with TIME’s award-winning journalism and legacy of covering human space exploration, the two companies have created a virtual reality experience that will forever enable viewers to meet Dr. Aldrin and see his plan for human colonization of the Red Planet.

 

The Big Idea

Buzz Aldrin wants to be remembered for more than just “kicking up moon dust.” He wants his legacy to include laying the groundwork for permanent human settlement on Mars, and he has a plan. 8i’s volumetric capture technology allowed for the creation of photo-realistic, three-dimensional hologram of Dr. Aldrin that viewers can travel with from his Apollo landing site on the moon to the surface of Mars. It’s both a forward look at the future of human civilization and an archival preservation of the likeness and ideas an icon of our time.

The Experience

8i created Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars, in partnership with TIME, LIFE VR and Soylent, to commemorate Dr. Aldrin’s impact on human space exploration and preserve his vision for the future. The experience premiered at SXSW 2017 and was exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. for two days this past April.

The experience allows Dr. Aldrin (as hologram) to explain his vision for humans to colonize Mars, drawing from his experience in participating in the U.S. landing on the moon. The experience brings to life, in computer generated spacecrafts and environments, sketches and designs that Dr. Aldrin himself helped to design, and highlights the importance of the continuation of our journey into space.

 

The Impact

This experience is significant in that it both preserves Dr. Aldrin as a hologram, enabling future generations to ‘meet’ him virtually long after it is no longer possible physically, and in that it preserves his vision for humans colonizing Mars. It is as much historic as it is educational.