Space debris represents a threat to space missions and operational satellites. Failing to control its growth might lead to the inability to use near-Earth space. However, this issue is still largely unknown to most people. In this paper, we present an educational experience in virtual reality created to raise awareness about the problem of space debris. The application exploits the entity-component-system (ECS) programming pattern to manage around 20000 orbiting objects with a high frame rate to convey a fluid experience. We preliminarily validated our application, in terms of usability as well as quality of user experience, during several events involving both a broad audience (e.g., citizens of all ages, from teenagers to elders) and an experienced audience (e.g., engineering students enrolled in the aerospace degree). The results of the evaluation were extremely positive, showing once again that virtual reality can be an effective means to engage people in captivating and interactive activities, making them experience what can only be imagined - the thousands pieces of space debris surrounding our planet.

An Educational Experience to Raise Awareness about Space Debris

Colombo C.;Di Blas N.;Gkolias I.;Lanzi P.;Loiacono D.;Stella E.
2020

Abstract

Space debris represents a threat to space missions and operational satellites. Failing to control its growth might lead to the inability to use near-Earth space. However, this issue is still largely unknown to most people. In this paper, we present an educational experience in virtual reality created to raise awareness about the problem of space debris. The application exploits the entity-component-system (ECS) programming pattern to manage around 20000 orbiting objects with a high frame rate to convey a fluid experience. We preliminarily validated our application, in terms of usability as well as quality of user experience, during several events involving both a broad audience (e.g., citizens of all ages, from teenagers to elders) and an experienced audience (e.g., engineering students enrolled in the aerospace degree). The results of the evaluation were extremely positive, showing once again that virtual reality can be an effective means to engage people in captivating and interactive activities, making them experience what can only be imagined - the thousands pieces of space debris surrounding our planet.
Aerospace engineering
satellites
space debris
virtual reality
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1142970
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