The space advocacy group supporting the human exploration of Mars, Mars Society, is collaborating with virtual reality (VR) companies to launch a crowdfunding campaign for MarsVR. It is a project that aims to create a VR simulation of the Red Planet. The goal of the campaign, which is hosted on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, is to raise $100,000 for the project over the next six weeks.
“What we hope to demonstrate in our VR program is a new way of exploring Mars, one which could bring millions of people into the game, in terms of participating directly in the exploration of the Red Planet,” stated Mars Society representatives.
According to the Mars Society, the aim for MarsVR is to be utilized by the “public and future space explorers,” for “both public outreach within STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] programs in schools and museums and to train analog astronauts at the Mars Society’s real-life Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) located in the Utah desert.”
MDRS is a research facility that enables analog astronauts to take part in simulated space missions, living, working, and researching as if they are on Mars. Through this VR experience, researchers could come close to a realistic experience for life on the neighboring planet.
It is only the second time that the public has been given access to the facility as the contributors will be allowed to spend time at MDRS. Nevertheless, it comes with a hefty price tag as you would need to shell out $2,500 for a single-day experience and $5,000 for a 3 day, 2-night stay as a crew member.
If this experiment bears fruitful results, the Mars Society plans to release the application as a free download on the digital video game distribution platform Steam.
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