Honorable Mention

Under the Virtual Ice

Submitted by: Arthur Nishimoto

Program: Computer Science

Division: Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences

The search for life on other worlds starts here. The NASA-funded SIMPLE (Sub-ice Investigation of Marine, and Planetary-analog Ecosystems) project takes of one the first steps in preparing to search for life under the icy surface of Europa by exploring the waters under the ice-covered lakes of Antarctica. Using multiple virtual reality devices at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, my research allows a multi-disciplinary team from UIC’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, NASA Ames, Stone Aerospace, and Montana State University to virtually recreate an underwater autonomous vehicle’s (AUV) mission based on data collected from numerous sensors during an expedition to the McMurdo ice shelf. The visualization application in the image depicts the underwater ice sheet as cubes derived from sonar scans collected from the AUV. Using the wand controller researchers can swim through the virtual lakebed at real-life scale, follow the yellow path of the AUV, and view salinity, pressure, conductivity, and oxygen concentrations.
The image was created by Lance Long using multiple in-camera exposures of the subject wearing the head-mounted display in front of the visualization on a tiled display wall and just the display wall.