Visionary astronomer and planetary scientist Carl Sagan was a massive proponent of understanding the development of the universe, and how humans came to be on Earth.

Throughout his career, both himself and partner Ann Druyan attempted to spread knowledge of the universe and humanity’s place in it. Following the passing of Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan supported using technology to spread this understanding around the world.

“Advances in visual resolution, interactivity and virtual reality make it possible to place the joystick of exploration in every hand; to open the galaxies, the atom and the cell for personal reconnaissance,” said Ann Druyan.

Virtual reality and simulation technology can play a large role in education – especially when it comes to teaching about concepts and places most humans will never see. Progressive advancements in VR will mean a wider understanding, thanks to the immersive and transportive nature of the technology.

“Learning is now viewed as a lifelong pursuit. And yet, our most dazzling entertainment capabilities are reserved for material that is largely substance-free,” she said.

Technology advancements will play a key role throughout the next few years in spreading understanding, thanks to mass market appeal and availability of VR devices.

The vision of Ann Druyan is already becoming reality, with space agency NASA set to produce VR content for the Oculus Rift headset in the form of a Mars simulation.

After acquiring an Oculus Rift headset, NASA set about using images from the Curiosity rover to first create a panorama, followed by an area testers could walk around using a video game controller. Further developments have the International Space Station recreated, and integration with the Omni treadmill to enable walking around Mars.

VR is set to change how we experience entertainment and education, with greater enhancements ahead.

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