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The Mars 2030 virtual reality experience launched today and is available for download. (Photo courtesy of Fusion Media Group)

Mars 2030, a virtual reality experience that simulates living and working on the Red Planet, launched today for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Steam PC.

The 3-D game has yet to be released for PlayStation VR, but can be downloaded on the other three platforms for $14.99. Schools and museums can get a complimentary version of the software.

The creators of Mars 2030 at Fusion Media Group connected with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center and Langley Research Center as well as MIT’s AeroAstro Lab to model habitats after real mission concepts and create an accurate 15-square-mile stretch of the Martian landscape.

“Its been humbling to collaborate with some of the leading authorities on Mars human mission planning, weaving their exciting research into our experience and providing a glimpse of Martian contact to the first generation of explorers who will actually set foot on Mars,” Julian Reyes, who directs FMG Studios’ VR and AR projects, said in today’s announcement about Mars 2030’s debut.

In the virtual reality experience, Mars is seen in a stunning 8K ultra-high-definition resolution. Users can hunt across the Martian landscape for samples, analyze their findings under a virtual microscope inside their workstation, and communicate their discoveries to NASA and family back on Earth.

Mars 2030’s creators also built in an “Augmented Information System” – a simulation of the augmented-reality systems that future Mars astronauts could use to pinpoint their location and check the status of their rover and life support systems.

Even Red Planet fans who don’t have virtual reality headsets will be able to get in on the Mars 2030 experience on a PC, and soon on PlayStation 4.

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