The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Labs (NASA Labs) has launched the MarsXR Challenge. This is a program in partnership with Epic Games and Buendea. NASA is encouraging various specialists to aid in the space exploration bid.
This contest aims at creating a virtual reality replica of the red planet. Alongside the announcement, this organization issues extensive details on how to participate. It also gives insight on the different categories in the contest. As well as the prize pool and how it will be distributed amongst the eventual winners.
Details of the NASA MarsXR Challenge
The NASA MarsXR Challenge will feature 5 different categories. They include: Set Up Camp, Scientific Research, Maintenance, Exploration and Blow Our Minds. For each of these sections, VR experts will create virtual research, testing and development environments. Using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5, they will create additional assets and scenarios. The developers will focus on EVA cases that will be similar to the conditions explorers may experience while on Mars. This will help NASA make proper plans and procedures.
While participating in this challenge, they will be working with the the new Mars XR Operations Support System (XOSS) environment. Those who wish to participate in this competition will have to recreate the following:
- Full Martian days and include the orange hues of day transitioning to blue at night.
- Realistic weather conditions and gravity that are very similar to what is applicable on Mars.
- 400 km2 or approximately 154 miles2 of the realistic and researched areas of the Red planet.
- Some existing assets like the astronaut’s suits, rovers and other equipment.
As mentioned earlier, there are 5 different categories in this challenge. There is also a $70,000 prize pool that will be shared amongst 20 persons. However, the winner of each section will take a chunky $6,000. Teams can participate in multiple categories. They can also make multiple submissions, and win more than one award in the process. However, their creations must be innovative and unique in every sense.
Buendea is a group dedicated to technical innovation and breakthroughs in real-time graphics for XR scenario, training, and education. Buendea is passionate about storytelling and creating new forms of shared experiences that bridge the physical and digital.
About Unreal Engine
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D tool. Creators across games, film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, live events, simulation and other industries choose Unreal to deliver cutting-edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds.