Five senses in space

Five senses in space

How do we galvanize public and private support for space exploration, an arena that can seem inaccessible to most people?

We need to humanize space, to familiarize it, to make it more possible and personal. Our mission is to increase support for space exploration by bringing space to Earth. We are making space exploration a reality by stimulating the senses through physical, virtual, and augmented immersion and creating holodeck-like experiences of space here on Earth.

Project contact:
Robert LiKamWa

Funding years:

Key accomplishments

  • Developed a Planetary Visor which offers immersive visualization of Martian terrain, along with geologic and geographic context using spectroscopic data from the orbiting satellite. Learn more
  • Created a smartphone app called JMARS AR Viewer, building on the JMARS open source software, to allow users to virtually project planetary terrains from Mars, Mercury, Earth and the moon onto their physical environment from their phone. Learn more here and/or here
  • Developed a prototype smell engine using data from ASU-student designed and constructed payloads that included instrumentation to capture elements of the senses in space. The Virtual Reality smell engine links mathematically-generated olfactory cues with virtual, visual, auditory, and haptic senses. Learn more
  • Opened the Mars Mobile Habitat, a real-life model of where future miners will live and work on Mars. Featuring three bunks, a mini kitchen, fold-out table, research stations, and welcoming guides, the hab hosts classrooms, museum guests, or art patrons through an educational experience of what life is like on Mars. Learn more
  • Team member and Ph.D. Student Lauren Gold submitted her research on JMARS XR to AGU’s Student Visualization Research competition and received a Grand Prize which was presented at AGU Fall Meeting ’22 in December 2022.
  • Spun off to form the pilot project, “Mars on the Field.”

key accomplishments


Alireza Bahremand

ASU School of Arts, Media and Engineering & School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Cassie Bowman

Project collaborator

Associate Research Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, ASU

Judd Bowman

Project collaborator

Associate Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, ASU

Laurence Garvie

Project collaborator

ASU Center for Meteorite Studies

Rick Gerkin

ASU School of Life Sciences

Lauren Gold

PhD Student, ASU

Geoffrey Gonsher

Project collaborator

ASU School of Public Affairs/College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Tanya Harrison


Planetary scientist

Danny Jacobs

Associate Director

ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration

Judie Lyon


Information Technology, Curriculum, Instruction

Kathryn Powell

Planetary Geology and Rover Operations, ASU

Connor Richards

Brian H. Smith

ASU School of Life Sciences

Christy Spackman

Phil Stoesz​​​​​​​

ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Creative design and development

Victor Surovec

ASU MKRspace

Makerspace Consultant

Program Coordinator

Cathy W. Swan

SouthWest Analytic Network, Inc.

Peter A. Swan

International Space Elevator Consortium

Zodiac Planetary Services

Roy Wasson Valle

KNX School of Art

Katherine Yagel

ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration Marketing consultant

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