NASA Partners With Epic Games to Create a Martian Metaverse Simulation – NASA, the United States’ space agency, has issued a challenge to draw developers to assist in the creation of a Martian metaverse environment for training reasons.
According to the challenge, which was posted on Herox, a crowdsourced problem-solving site, developers are needed to help NASA create “Virtual Reality (XR) assets and scenarios for use by NASA in research concentrating on extravehicular activities on the surface of Mars.”
The challenge intends to populate an already-running metaverse environment called MarsXR, which has mapped 400 km2 of Mars landscape with realistic day/night cycles, all modelled with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5, which would also be used by the developers.
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Set up camp, maintenance, scientific research, exploration, and blow our minds are the virtual experiences NASA has established as categories for this assignment, each with a particular objective to perform.
The challenge will award a total prize pool of $70,000 to the winners, divided into twenty separate prizes. This means that the average award for each category will be $6,000.
According to the Herox page, this action has already caught the eye of numerous groups interested in helping NASA expand their Martian metaverse. The Martian simulation is being built by more than 24 teams and 237 innovators, who will help NASA cut costs by employing a virtual reality module called Apache to train future astronauts in varied experiences.
While institutions have been reluctant to adopt virtual reality and metaverse-based programs, this appears to be changing, as both Microsoft and Meta are releasing virtual reality suites.
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Mesh, a software which replaces video with digital avatars for presentations, was announced by Microsoft last year and would be directly integrated into the popular Microsoft Teams program. Meta, for one, has just announced the release of Venues in Horizon Worlds, their flagship metaverse program.