While it may take a few more years before man finally walks on another planet, a new virtual reality experience aims to give us common folk a glimpse at what it will be like when humans finally step foot on the Red Planet itself, Mars.
Mars 2030 is a VR experience developed by Fusion Media Group in association with NASA and MIT’s AeroAstro Lab that allows participants to stroll around 15 square miles of Mars and enjoy the dusty scenery.
The virtual reality experience was designed to provide participants with an idea of what it will be like to explore Mars in 2030, which is when NASA envisions the first visitors will reach the planet.
The environment featured in the experience was generated from data obtained by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE imagery device, so you’re effectively exploring a chunk of real Martian landscape.
You can visit human built habitats, drive a rover across the Martian countryside and pick up and analyse rocks for signs of life all from the comfort and safety of your own home.
The developers of the experience worked hard to create one that is as scientifically accurate as it is immersive, using the habitat at NASA’s Langley Research Center as the basis for their own in addition to realistic gravity effects and a full day and night cycle.
It also includes informative facts about the history of the Red Planet: picking up a rock in a lava tube will show a brief scene of how the tube formed billions of years ago.
Mars 2030 is available to download for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive via Steam right now, and will be out on PlayStation VR sometime early next year.