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How virtual reality headsets are being used to support astronaut mental health


A photo of an astronaut
Adam Miller | Unsplash

TL;DR

  • Astronauts on the International Space Station will receive HTC Vive Focus 3 headsets to support their mental health during extended missions.

  • The headsets have been modified to operate in microgravity and come pre-loaded with specialised software designed to address the mental well-being of astronauts.

  • The initiative aims to aid astronauts facing isolation and boredom during their time on the space station.

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are set to receive HTC Vive Focus 3 headsets to support their mental health during extended missions.


This collaboration between HTC, Nord Space, and XR Health aims to provide astronauts with a virtual escape from the isolation and boredom of space travel, while also monitoring their physical and mental well-being.

The HTC Vive Focus 3 is a standalone virtual reality (VR) headset that offers high-resolution visuals and immersive experiences. It is also relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear, making it ideal for long-duration use in microgravity.

For this initiative, the headsets have been pre-loaded with specialised software designed to address the mental well-being of astronauts.


This software includes a variety of experiences, such as nature scenes, social interactions, and games, that are designed to help astronauts relax and de-stress.

The headsets have also been modified to operate in microgravity. They feature innovative camera tracking features that minimise motion sickness, as well as eye-tracking sensors that allow the software to monitor the user's engagement and respond accordingly.

In addition to its mental health benefits, the initiative is also expected to provide valuable insights into the effects of long-term space travel on the human body and mind. This data will be used to develop new strategies for supporting astronaut health and well-being on future missions.

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