Summer internship with NASA JPL was more than virtual for ASU graduate student
ASU graduate student Lauren Gold’s recent internship involved a deep dive into virtual reality and immersive technology. Gold’s academic home is the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She’s also a researcher in the Meteor Studio directed by Robert LiKamWa, an assistant professor in both schools, who also directs the Learning Futures Immersive Creation Studio. Gold’s internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in an “XR,” or extended reality, position, enabled her to explore designs and implementations of virtual reality app concepts to create a virtual Mars environment, helping to develop tools and interactions for scientists and engineers working on the proposed mission. Gold’s JPL supervisor says she used virtual reality tools to help gain new insights about potential applications of the technology for future NASA missions. Gold’s work also helped produce a prototype virtual reality tool for a proposed Mars mission whose principal scientist, Meenakshi Wadhwa, is a professor in ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration.