Digital Assets: NASA, Epic Games And Buendea Partner To Develop Martian Metaverse Via Game Challenge

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The challenge asks for the development of various Martian environments that can be used to train astronauts.

NASA, Fortnite creator Epic Games, and virtual reality specialists Buendea have together launched a competition challenge to create a new Virtual Reality (XR) research, development, and testing environment to help prepare for the experiences and situations that will be encountered on Mars. This simulated Martian metaverse will call on developers to use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 to create new virtual assets and scenarios for the Mars XR Operations Support System (XOSS) environment. (Herox)

Competitors can participate in five Martian modules, each comprising different kinds of scenarios, for the winning purse of $70,000. These modules are a Set up Camp; Scientific Research; Maintenance; Exploration; and Blow Our Minds. Potential scenarios and assets of each category are available in the Resources section of the game listing. These include an already mapped 400 km2 of Mars terrain, with realistic day/night cycles, all modeled with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5.

The prize of $70,000 would be shared between 20 separate prizes, however. Each category will have four prizes, with the overall category winner receiving $6,000. The deadline for submission is July 26, 2022, with winners declared on September 27, 2022.

“NASA is developing an XR exploration surface analog known as, ‘Assessments of Physiology And Cognition in Hybrid-reality Environments’ (APACHE),” said NASA on the game listing. “The goal of APACHE is to create a planetary exploration EVA scenario environment that provides a representative physical and cognitive workload approximation using a combination of virtual reality (XR), physical reality, and hybrid reality (HR) techniques.”

Apache will use the simulations constructed by the competitors to train and prepare future astronauts for the Martian surface.

Related Story: Sony And Lego Back Epic’s Metaverse Vision With $1B Each

Images Credit: NASA and Herox

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