Space geeks looking to take a walk 34 million miles from home without actually training to be an astronaut will get the opportunity to do that, virtually, when “Mars 2030” is released to consumers next month.
The immersive VR production from Fusion Media Group, in partnership with NASA, will allow users to explore 15 square miles of the Red Planet, thanks to accurately mapped and modeled terrain derived from real orbital satellite data, a news release announced.
Users will also be able to experience the actual spacesuit prototype, get a feel for driving a Mars rover, hang out with a companion humanoid robot named Valkyrie, and explore the Mars Habitat design. All of this will take place while exploring and traversing unique and dangerous terrain such as lava tubes, frozen lakes and mountainsides while witnessing realistic weather and atmospheric conditions.
“Mars 2030” will be available in VR on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, at $14.99 for the download. Those without a VR headset can experience it all on PC and Playstation 4 and Playstation 4 Pro. And it will be available free of charge for educators and students, thanks NASA’s Space Act Agreement, the release said.
Along with the sights, users will also take in sound from every direction meant to deepen the immersion, and an original score from the London Symphony Orchestra and situational music cues will “heighten the emotion.”
“By offering the most authentic experience possible, we hope a progressive audience of explorers will witness the awe of extraterrestrial travel and feel inspired back at home here on Earth,” said Julian Reyes, director of VR/AR at Fusion.
Fusion is not alone is taking people to the distant planet before human astronauts actually make the journey. Microsoft and NASA teamed on another experience in which HoloLens users can get a mixed-reality look at Mars in an exhibit opening at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida this summer.