First Woman is the first in a series of graphic novels from NASA that use AR to enhance your reading experience.
NASA’s first-ever AR-powered graphic novel First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity tells the story of fictional character Callie Rodriguez and her dreams of being the first woman of color to set foot on the moon.
Written by Brad Gann and Steven List and illustrated by Brent Donoho and Katilin Reid in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace, First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity is meant to inspire those interested in a career in space. The story itself follows the career of Callie Rodriguez, from her childhood making spacesuits out of cardboard boxes to her career at NASA building her robot, RT (named after her dad).
Throughout the novel, you’ll come across different QR and XR codes that can be used to unlock different interactive AR experiences using the First Woman app available on iOS and Android devices. Once unlocked, you’re able to walk through scenes from the story and explore real technologies used by NASA to help astronauts live sustainably on the moon. You’ll also have access to fun interactions with Callie’s sidekick robot, RT, and even experience some of the challenges of becoming a First Woman Mission Specialist!
Derek Wang, Director of Communications for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, talked with VRScout about their first-ever AR-powered graphic novel and NASA’s Artemis Program: “The Artemis Program is a program that is going to get our next astronauts to the lunar surface to live, and of course our story is about the first woman and person of color to do this.” said Wang, adding, “Though she is a fictional character, the challenges she faces in the graphic novel and the technical aspects of the story are all real.”
When asked about why NASA chose to use AR, Wang said, “We chose to use AR because we knew that people respond differently to how they receive information. Putting it into a graphic novel, we knew that people love to read the pages, but with the AR portion we are able to allow an additional experience that we couldn’t illustrate on the page.”
Using your mobile device, you can explore NASA’s Lunar Outpost and see what it’s like to stand on the lunar surface. You can even get a life-size look at the new astronaut suits that are in development right now. “It’s another means to be able to connect the reader to more content that we’re doing at NASA,” added Wang.
In the same interview, Shannon Messner, Sr. Design/Illustrator supporting NASA SE&I and the Artemis Program, talked about why they chose New York Comic Con to debut their new graphic novel, saying, ”It’s important that we spread the knowledge of NASA. People think that NASA is just science and engineers but in reality, art is incredibly important at NASA, especially the art of storytelling,” adding, “We are going back to the moon under the Artemis Missions, and through the First Woman graphic novel, we can inspire the next generation of explorers and Comic-Con is full of future explorers!”
Along with incredible artwork, storytelling, and AR content, First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity also features an audio experience that you can access through a Soundcloud link. “We wanted to create an audio experience for people who are visually impaired. We wanted as many people as we could to experience this story. We also think this would be great for the classroom.” said Wang.
WithFirst Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity, NASA hopes to inspire the next generation of space explorers. First Woman: NASA’s Promise For Humanity is the first issue of NASA’s graphic novel series.
Feature Image Credit: NASA