After announcing a partnership with Epic Games, NASA plans to join the metaverse. The U.S. government’s flagship space agency has created a contest with Epic Games and Buendea to develop a simulation of the Martian metaverse.
This unique challenge was first posted on Herox, the crowdsourcing problem-solving platform. It tasks developers to help NASA build “Virtual Reality (VR) assets and scenarios for NASA to use in research focused on extravehicular activities on the surface of Mars.”
This is a big competition with big hopes. In addition, those interested in competing will provide the tools for space missions in the coming years. It should be noted that the U.S. government plans to have boots on Mars by 2040. The development of NASA’s Martian metaverse simulation may help the mission’s chances of success.
This is not the first contest NASA has made available to the public. Often, these challenges take place at Herox. Notably, there is a cash prize for those who do well in the NASA metaverse challenge. In total, there is up to $70,000 up for grabs.
“Creators can use Unreal Engine to build realistic simulation scenarios to help prepare NASA for future missions, whether it’s to the Moon or Mars,” said Seb Loze, Unreal Engine business director for simulation at Epic Games. “Whether you’re a game designer, architect, hobbyist or rocket scientist, anyone can build with UE5, and we can’t wait to see what immersive simulations the community comes up with.”
How will the NASA x Epic Games Metaverse competition work?
Virtual reality is a modern tool used in everything from pilot training to Formula 1 driving. It allows users to acquire a high-level training experience at a reduced cost. It is effective because of the visual emphasis on users and provides a fully immersive experience.
Now, NASA wants to use Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine 5 to achieve a realistic metaverse environment. Buendea will also play a vital role in the process. This is a unique group dedicated to solving extended reality (XR) graphical simulation challenges.
Basically, the challenge aims to populate an already initiated metaverse world, called MarsXR. This is a model of Mars, with 400 km2 identical Martian landscape and natural day and night patterns.
Mars follows a diurnal cycle similar to that of Earth. It orbits the Sun once every 24 hours and 39 minutes, and these Martian days are called “sols,” short for Martian solar days. Developers will have to take all this into account for the competition.
The virtual experience challenges within this NASA metaverse also come in categories. These categories include “set up camp,” “scientific research,” “maintenance,” “exploration,” and “blow our minds.” Each task has a clear purpose for the NASA metaverse space. This VR metaverse project will help with future space missions.