The biggest space agency in the world, NASA, is building a metaverse world called MarsXR. The project is intended to help astronauts train for specific extravehicular activities, test procedures and create action plans for various possible conditions while on Mars.
To build MarsXR, NASA has partnered with Epic Games, the studio responsible for the gaming phenomenon Fortnite, as well as Buendea, an XR simulation and training company which had worked for NASA before.
The partners have already set up the foundations of the metaverse, with 400 km2 of realistic Mars terrain mapped out and the day and night cycle added. The system also supports Martian weather conditions and gravity.
The project is now accepting applications for a challenge to contribute to MarsXR. The prize pool for winners will be $70,000, shared between twenty proposals. Candidates can apply in five categories, including camp setup, scientific research, maintenance and exploration. The fifth category, called “blow our minds,” is intended for out-of-the-box proposals.
The deadline for submissions is in July, with final results to be announced in September. So far, 37 teams have submitted applications.