NASA has partnered with Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, to create challenges for developers to help create a Martian metaverse experience. Challenges will include a variety of tasks, including designing several key environments for the Martian astronauts, which will be rendered using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 to a realistic environment.

NASA to develop Mars metaverse to help with training exercises

NASA recently released a challenge to attract developers to help build a Martian metaverse environment to help with training. The challenge, posted on crowdsourced problem-solving platform Herox, calls on developers to help the agency build “virtual reality (XR) assets and scenarios for NASA to use to study extravehicular activities on the Martian surface.”

The challenge is to populate a metaverse world already underway called MarsXR, which has now mapped 400 kilometers2 The Martian terrain, with a realistic day and night cycle, was all modeled using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5, which the developers will also use to create the submissions in the challenge.

virtual experience

The categories of virtual experiences NASA has defined for this mission include building camp, scientific research, maintenance, exploration, and surprise us, each with a different purpose to accomplish. The challenge will reward winners with a total prize pool of $70,000 to be shared among 20 individual prizes. This means that each prize in each category averages $6,000.

According to the Herox page, the campaign has already attracted a lot of attention from several groups looking to contribute to the development of NASA’s Mars metaverse. More than 24 teams and 237 innovators are contributing to the construction of the Mars simulation, which will help the agency reduce costs by using a virtual reality module called Apache to train incoming astronauts in a variety of experiences.

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While institutions have been slow to adopt VR and Metaverse-based applications, that seems to be changing as both Microsoft and Meta introduce VR suites in the space. Microsoft announced last year that it would integrate the Mesh app directly into the popular Microsoft Teams app, which will replace video with digital avatars for meetings and presentations. In the case of Meta, it just announced the launch of Venues in its flagship Metaverse app, Horizon Worlds.

What do you think of NASA’s approach to the Mars Metaverse? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sergio Goshenko

Sergio is a cryptocurrency journalist in Venezuela. He describes himself being late to the game, entering the crypto space when prices rose in December 2017. With a background in computer engineering, living in Venezuela, and being affected by the cryptocurrency craze on a social level, he offers a different perspective on the success of cryptocurrencies and how it can help the unbanked and underserved.

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