NASA is set to bring Mars exploration to the metaverse.
To train astronauts for a literal takeoff to the Red Planet, NASA has teamed up with Epic Games to build a Mars metaverse experience. This unique virtual reality simulation will utilize XR tech from Buendea plus Epic Games’ 3D software Unreal Engine 5.
NASA’s existing Mars XR Operations Support System features over 150-square miles of virtual land that matches data gathered from previous Mars rover missions. Individuals in this virtual simulation will see the natural spectacles and weather on Mars. This also includes orange-tinted days and blue-tinged nights.
This new Mars metaverse initiative is a part of NASA’s ongoing MarsXR Challenge. From now till the 26th of July, interested developers can create test scenarios on the platform HeroX. These requests must fit into one of NASA’s authorized categories, which contains:
- Set Up Camp
- Scientific Research
- Blow Our Minds
The winning simulations may be utilized to assist and train future astronauts or help NASA researchers plan IRL Mars missions. NASA will even award developers who develop exceptional simulations with cash rewards.
NASA states that it will award a total of $70,000 in its MarsXR Challenge. Each of the above categories will be qualified for four rewards, and NASA will offer $6,000 for the simulation it believes is the most extraordinary.
Interested competitors could submit more than one VR scenario in as many categories as they want. If the simulation is unique and meets NASA’s criteria, developers could win multiple awards.
Anyone who is willing to enter NASA’s MarsXR Challenge can find more information on its official HeroX page.
Gaming Companies Set Big Bets on the Metaverse
Web3 is a controversial issue amongst gamers. In the past few years, major companies like EA and Ubisoft have strolled back on NFT or metaverse-related projects after encountering criticism from the gaming community.
Yet, there are plenty of video game brands that notice the great potential in the future of Web3. In fact, shortly before unveiling its new Mars simulation with NASA, Epic Games raised $2 billion for metaverse ambitions. What’s more interesting is that Sony was behind $1 billion in this latest funding round.
Lately, the gaming giant Square Enix made headlines when it traded the legendary Tomb Raider franchise for $300 million. Square Enix executives mentioned that the company wants to utilize this money to invest in Web3-related technology, which includes VR and NFTs.
SEGA is another Japanese gaming company that’s optimistic about Web3 innovations in video games. Just recently, SEGA informed about its metaverse ambitions i.e. called “Super Game”. This project will contain classic SEGA titles with new elements such as NFTs.
Microsoft also indicated its recent purchase of Activision/Blizzard was partially motivated by the metaverse boom. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella expressed that the Activision investment will provide Microsoft with building blocks for the metaverse.
Although Web3 stays a hot button topic in the gaming community, many big video game brands are betting big on blockchain technology.
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