About the MarsVR Program
The Mars Society is building a new open-source Virtual Reality platform — we call it “MarsVR” — that can be used for serious research towards the goal of sending humans to Mars. The MarsVR Program will be a multi-phase effort designed to pioneer the emerging field of CrowdExploration, which we define as the partnership between the first astronauts on Mars and the VR experts and enthusiasts back on Earth. We aim to establish the capability of using Virtual Reality to assist with the initial human exploration of landing sites. Phase I of the Mars VR Program will focus on designing training simulations for use at the Mars Desert Research Station, providing direct assistance in the training of MDRS crew members. We will also open-source the key elements of the platform so that the general public can freely make use of it to experience the exploration of Mars.
Phase 1 (2018-2019)
Phase 1 of MarsVR was focused on creating a prototype training environment centered on the Mars Desert Research Station. We scanned the base and a square mile of terrain using a drone and the latest photogrammetry techniques. We stitched these visual and virtual reality data assets together into a Unity project that was successfully demoed at the Mars Society conference and several other events. The Phase 1 build is available for chapters and interested enthusiasts to request but it is not yet publicly available. This is because there is some cleanup work remaining to ensure the buildings are accurate and the overall experience is high quality. Our team of volunteers is presently finalizing this environment and it should be ready in Spring 2020.
Phase 2 is focused on a more general Unity project that can feature multiple environments and 3-d Base/Colony designs in addition to the MDRS facilities. Work has started on Phase 2 and a public alpha version is expected in 2020.
Mars Daily (Space Daily)
Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, CO)
TechoAndroid (in Italian)
Realite-Virtuelle (in French)
TMRO video interview at ISDC conference
Colorado ABC Affiliate (KJCT Channel 8) local news segment
Red Planet Radio podcast interview
Kickstarter Trailer on Youtube
We'll use this high-fidelity VR environment to train our crew members, before they arrive at the hab. Because every moment at the MDRS is precious, just like being in space, and we want them to make the most of it all.