Exploring the Universe from Antarctica

2016 - presentpresent
Despite a significant number of scientific projects based in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the earth, little is known about the public’s understanding of polar research and whether they are aware of the importance of the research taking place in these regions. One example of a fruitful scientific project in Antarctica is the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is headquartered at UW-Madison and run by an international collaboration of more than 300 scientists aiming to learn more about the extreme universe by using high-energy neutrinos. While the project team has found success promoting the concepts of the IceCube project to lay audiences through virtual reality experiences, these experiences required specialized equipment making their wide-spread distribution limited. This Exploratory Pathways project promotes informal STEM education in polar research through an innovative new interactive learning display that uses virtual and augmented reality technology. This display system combines the successful techniques of touch-enabled tabletop displays with new low-cost, head-mounted display (HMD) technology to deliver an immersive 3D learning experience for the IceCube Neutrino Detection system located at the South Pole.