It was back in 2015 that Fusion Media Group (FMG) announced a partnership with NASA on a virtual reality (VR) experience called Mars 2030 in an attempt to simulate the experience of being the first astronaut to arrive on Mars. For those keen on heading to the Red Planet, Mars 2030 has launched on Steam for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and OSVR.
Designed to be the most realistic VR Mars experience yet, FMG used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to model terrain from a custom HI-RISE conversion, integrating real-world Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data that covers 15 square miles (40 square kilometers) of Martian landscape.
To add to the immersive visuals the experience utilises ambisonic audio filtered to match Mars’ atmospheric pressure and sound propagation, alongside an original score from the London Symphony Orchestra that features situational music cues designed to heighten the emotion of exploring the Red Planet.
“Since its inception, Fusion and now Fusion Media Group has made experimentation with new forms of storytelling like Mars 2030 a priority. We know young audiences are inherently curious, which makes this immersive VR project an exciting first step for us,” said Julian Reyes, Director of VR/AR at FMG Studios in a statement. “It’s 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.”
The Mars 2030 VR experience on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is available for $14.99 USD/ £10.99 GBP, with a PlayStation VR version coming soon. A non-VR version for PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro will also be available. For educators and students the experience will be free of charge due to the NASA Space Act Agreement.
For all the latest space-based VR experiences, keep reading VRFocus.