immersive AR/VR prototype to enhance mission collaboration

NASA JPL Europa Mission

How might AR or VR enhance mission collaboration for orbital missions?

*This is a current project! We are currently transitioning from Define to Ideation phase. 



Eugene Meng
Brian Orlando
Edward Payne Roberts

Project Timeline
22 weeks




"design A data visualisation prototype in ar or VR with the goal of aiding scientists and engineers to better collaborate for the Europa Clipper Mission."



process overview

Current stage at Process

Currently, we are transitioning from the Define phase into Ideation.




research methods

  1. Semi-structured Interviews
  2. Activity: Iterative Journey Mapping
  3. Activity: Card Sort Activity

Based on the profile of our interviewee, we paired each semi-structured interview with one of the above activities to uncover a different set of data. 

Since most of our interviewees live outside of Seattle, we had to conduct our interviews via Skype / Google Hangouts. Therefore, we used Mural to conduct the Iterative Journey Mapping activity (left) and OptimalSort for the Card Sort activity.


From our 17 semi-structured interviews along with 2 activities (12 users and 4 experts), our team individually coded each interview and did 5 rounds of affinity mapping to gather themes.  


insights and design principles

Our team came up with around 1200 individual post-its, which we formed into 90 themes. From the 90 themes, we distilled them into 38 insights, which we then refined into 13. From our 13 insights, we defined our 8 design principles

For the sake of brevity, they are presented on the same slide below.




Our team also developed 4 diagrams to distill our research findings from our qualitative interviews and interview activities. 


about the mission

A decade of planning is made for around 45 8-hour flybys. This diagram represents the time-critical moments during the mission and when we expect both scientists and engineers to have the highest stress. 

journey map during the mission 

The journey map maps out the highly complicated collaboration nature of an orbital mission like Clipper. Our team has identified pain points (represented in the darker outlines) and areas where we could potentially intervene. This map is the result of our iterative journey map activity done during our interviews. 



The Personnel Map summarises the interrelationships of the mission from a sociological lens. It highlights (in green and white) positive relationships and (in red) pain points in certain relationships that our team needs to consider when we design. 

CARD sort activity findings

Through our card sort activity, we identified that the data prioritisation during orbital mission is highly contextual. Based on the scenario (from Safe Mode to New Discovery), scientists and engineers have a different protocol in how they can advance scientific discovery balanced with needed engineering data


Based on all of our learnings, our team has identified 3 key areas of opportunities. 


opportunity area #1

Science Data Collaboration


Understanding past, present, and future states of the mission

opportunity area #2

Instrument Scientists and
Orbital Engineers Collaboration


Stay tuned! 

We will share more around our Opportunity Areas and our Initial Concepts soon!