M Is For Mars And Metaverse: Bringing New Experiences To Students Through Virtual Reality Education

Special topic: Astronomy Education Beyond the Classroom
5th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Wednesday Nov. 29, 2023
UTC: 11:35 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Thursday Nov. 30, 2023
UTC: 7:05 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

It is extremely fun to describe a star forming region while taking a trip through its centre. This was one of the motivations behind the Metavisionaries Academy summer program, which offers immersive classes in virtual reality on astrophysics & space exploration. The students were from high school to undergraduate level, and could join the class from anywhere in the world, via either a VR headset, computer or smartphone. Lectures were designed to harness the virtual space by bringing in models, exploring environments such as the Moon & Mars, and utilising 360° videos to offer a program that is not possible in a traditional classroom. We look at the challenges of moving from 2D presentations to creating a 3D experience as a lecturer, and how this is a tool to reach people around the globe.

About Elizabeth Tasker

Elizabeth Tasker is a researcher and science communicator at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Her research explores exoplanet demographics, and developing virtual reality environments to connect people in research and education. Tasker is on the international outreach team for space exploration missions that include the Martian Moons eXploration Mission and Hayabusa2, and the author of the popular science book, The Planet Factory.