NASA will let you explore Mars in 2016
Ever wondered what being on Mars feels like? Well, NASA is working on a virtual reality platform that will leave nothing to your imagination! With Unreal Engine 4, anyone who owns a virtual reality headset will be able to explore the Red Planet in 2016.
NASA has teamed up with Fusion Media, MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory, and game developers from former studio Irrational Games to develop The Mars 2030 Experience for Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Samsung Gear VR in 2016. The free cross-platform virtual reality experience will also expand to Sony PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, thanks to Unreal Engine 4.
Although more details will be announced during a panel at South by Southwest 2016, the virtual reality experience will bring to life a series of mini-missions that occur within the Mars habitat as well as on the planet’s surface. Players will be able to walk on the Red Planet as well as drive the Mars Rover.
According to Erin Mahoney, senior communications manager at NASA, space exploration has always been considered an experience for the elite few in the astronaut corps. “An important part of NASA’s Journey to Mars is the work we are doing to make space more accessible to individuals and non-governmental entities,” Mahoney said. “With more aerospace companies making human spaceflight part of their core business models, we expect that spaceflight will be an option for more people in the future than it is today. Hopefully, individual immersive VR experiences in space will bring the concepts closer to reality for those who truly enjoy virtual life off of Earth.” Mahoney said advances in virtual reality, which are quickly becoming the standard in the video game industry, also benefits NASA’s future.