Earlier this week it was revealed that NASA was using the PlayStation VR virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) to advance the use of robots. That’s far from all that the group is working on in VR, however, as today sees Fusion, a multi-platform media company, announce a new partnership with NASA to produce a brand new VR title that will attempt to simulate the experience of being the first NASA astronaut to arrive on Mars in the year 2030. That title is simply called Mars 2030.
Due to release on the Oculus Rift PC-based HMD along with the Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR mobile-based kits, Mars 2030 will first be showcased at next year’s South by South West (SXSW) festival from 11th – 20th March before launching in full the following summer. Developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, the piece will include a surface expedition of the planet that has been crafted using concepts from NASA itself. Players can expect to take part in a number of ‘mini-missions’ that will have been crashed using research provided by NASA itself and exploring the planet’s habitat.
“We saw this as an opportunity to share elements of our human Mars surface exploration concepts using today’s advanced virtual reality technologies. We already use VR technology in astronaut training and spacecraft simulations, so it seems logical to extend that successful model to inspire and educate the next generation of space explorers and scientists in captivating way,” Director of Advanced Exploration Systems at NASA Jason Crusan said of the announcement. “We are excited to provide the expertise to help create an experience that will put the viewer right in the astronaut’s seat.”
An original soundtrack will be produced by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
VRFocus will continue to follow progress on Mars 2030, reporting back with any further updates on the project.