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Training astronauts on virtual Mars

NASA is developing a virtual reality environment of Mars to train future astronauts.  (Source: NASA)
NASA is developing a virtual reality environment of Mars to train future astronauts. (Source: NASA)

Keeping up with new trends, recently, the US space agency (NASA) announced that it is partnering with game production company Epic Games to create a “new challenge” for video game developers. . It is about creating virtual reality (VR) experiences on Mars, both to attract public attention and to familiarize astronauts with the work that will be required in preparation for the launch. mission to explore the “red planet”.

Specifically, NASA has collaborated with HeroX, a community resource solution platform, to organize the NASA MarsXR Challenge. The competition is aimed at game developers and designers creating scenarios within the virtual world that the crew might face upon arrival on Mars, including establishing a base and securing energy supplies. , handling severe situations such as a dust and radiation storm.

Challenges are divided into five categories: camping, scientific research, maintenance, discovery, and surprise. In each scenario, the developers needed to create resources and procedures that future astronauts could follow while wearing VR goggles to prepare for the mission.

Of course, they wouldn’t have to develop and redesign the entire Mars simulation environment from scratch. NASA and Epic Games have made available a virtual version of Mars based on Unreal Engine 5 (a video game programming toolkit developed by Epic Games), called MarsXR.

MarsXR has been pre-programmed and brings a “virtual world” quite realistic about the environment of Mars, based on data collected by NASA. For example, the daytime sky on the “red planet” will be orange and will turn blue at night. In addition, the virtual version of Mars will also have variable weather conditions, gravity and more than 400 km2 Realistic terrain.

The NASA challenge attracted the participation of about 150 game development teams, mainly individual teams of 1-2 members. Challenge participants also come from all over the world, including Kenya, Iran, Ukraine, Korea… NASA is looking for up to 20 winning teams with a total prize pool of $70,000.

With this challenge, NASA hopes to create an environment that simulates Mars in as much detail as possible, to help train astronauts on future missions to directly explore the planet.

(According to International Newspaper)

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