An Augmented Reality Guidance and Operations System to Support the Artemis Program and Future EVAs
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In preparation for the challenges of modern and future Lunar missions, NASA has decided to leverage augmented reality technology to aid astronauts to accomplish their lunar assignments and field work. This manuscript describes the work that students have created to meet the NASA SUITS Design Challenge, which is part of the Artemis Student Challenges. In order to develop a system designed to aid users through complex and possibly dangerous tasks, we propose the Augmented Reality Guidance and Operations System (ARGOS) which utilizes the Magic Leap One Augmented Reality Headset (ML1) to simulate the spacesuit of an astronaut on an EVA. Using the ML1, ARGOS presents a minimal, yet effective user interface designed to display vital information, provide instructions, and reduce the cognitive load for the user. We accomplish these tasks through the introduction of 3 main elements in our system: Voice Commands/Interaction, Remote Control Application, and the ARGOS-specific Operations Control, Translation, and Visual Interface Assistant, also known as OCTaVIA. The goal of ARGOS is to create a system that will ensure a user's ability to complete the given task with the utmost safety and efficiency, despite any communication failures that may occur. Lunar missions present a unique and dangerous set of challenges, and with the updated design of ARGOS, astronauts will have an available and usable system built specifically to help reduce cognitive load, aid completion of tasks, and increase safety, with the support of a cloud-like data processing infrastructure that lives on the network itself. This manuscript describes ARGOS as a training platform as well as a testbed for systems that will support human exploration. We also report preliminary tests of its effectiveness in terms of usability and efficiency. Lastly, we briefly describe how this system has become a significant platform for student engagement in a higher education context.