The MarsVR program will be a unique multi-phase effort designed to pioneer the emerging field of CrowdExploration, which we define as the partnership between the first astronauts on Mars and VR experts and enthusiasts back on Earth. The Mars Society aims to develop a special VR platform to assist with the initial human exploration of Martian landing sites.
Phase 1 of the MarsVR program will focus on designing training simulations for the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, providing direct assistance in preparing MDRS crew members for their analog research and testing. Since every moment at MDRS is valuable, just like actual astronauts working in space, the Mars Society wants its crew members to make the most of their time “on Mars.” We will also open-source the key elements of the platform so that the general public can freely make use of it to experience human Mars exploration.
As part of the new MarsVR initiative, the Mars Society plans to build a high-resolution simulation of the entire MDRS habitat, both inside and out. To complete the experience, Mars Society staff will scan a one-square mile capture of the Mars-like terrain around MDRS using the latest photogrammetry techniques. Funds raised beyond the $25,000 project goal will be used to expand the VR platform beyond the initial one-square mile capture to allow for a broader Mars experience for both crew and members of the public.
The goals of the MarsVR program include:
A Research Tool: We hope to use VR to conduct serious research on the challenges of exploring a Mars landing site.
- An Open Source Platform: We want to ensure that MarsVR is available and customizable for everyone.
- An Example of Best Practices: We want to make the best use of generally-accepted technology processes and tools.
- A Love Letter to Space Enthusiasts: This new virtual platform is built by and for space advocates so that all can experience space exploration.
- An Inspiration to Our Youth: We aim to inspire the next generation of space explorers and aspiring astronauts.
- A STEM Education Platform: MarsVR will be a free, open source and customizable environment able to meet many educational purposes.
- A Public Outreach Tool: We will use MarsVR to tell the story of the future human exploration of the Red Planet.
- An Immersive VR Experience: MarsVR will be a fully immersive experience, transporting you to MDRS and allowing you to explore a simulated Mars environment.
With your direct support and involvement, the Mars Society can pioneer the use of virtual reality for pre-mission crew training as well as expanding Mars advocacy and outreach among our global community.
For full details about the MarsVR program, visit our website at MarsVR.io
All reward levels are cumulative unless otherwise noted. (Ie, you will get every reward level at or below your pledge.)
Pledge $5 or more -- You'll receive a Digital Donor Certificate & personalized Thank You Note from Dr. Robert Zubrin. We will also include a permanent recognition plaque within the VR experience which will include the names of all donors.
Pledge $10 or more -- You'll get a digital poster of the MDRS hab & facilities as well as the surrounding terrain, as fully rendered in VR.
Pledge $30 or more -- In addition to the open-source platform which everybody will be able to download, you'll get a special Steam key that can unlock the MDRS Mission Content, the same content that we'll use to train the crewmembers at MDRS!
Pledge $50 or more -- We'll send you a physical token for backing our project -- a limited-run metal medallion that glows in the dark and has the Mars Society logo on the front and MarsVR on the back. Only 250 of these will ever be made -- 200 for the backers and approx 50 for the project contributors. This reward is meant to commemorate this moment as the beginning of the MarsVR Program, which we hope will persist for a long time and through multiple phases as we pioneer the exploration of Mars using Virtual Reality technologies.
Pledge $100 or more -- You'll get early access to our beta Virtual Reality environment before everybody else does! You'll also receive all the rewards above, with the exception of the Metal Medallion. (If you'd still like to receive the Medallion, simply add an additional $50 to your pledge.)
Pledge $400 or more -- Become a core developer of MarsVR with exclusive developer forum access, as well as early beta access to both the VR environment and mission content. You will also receive all the above rewards, with the exception of the Metal Medallion. (If you'd still like to receive the Medallion, simply add an additional $50 to your pledge.)
Pledge $5000 or more -- You get to "Jump the Line" and become an MDRS Crewmember for Crew 197 in October 2018. Reserve your spot on a special crew rotation for the MarsVR project at the Mars Desert Research Station, run by MDRS Program Director Dr. Shannon Rupert. Stay at the MDRS for 5 days (4 nights) and live your dream of exploring Mars in a real analog enviornment. You will be responsible for your own airfare and transportation to & from the MDRS. You will also receive all above rewards, including the Metal Medallion!
Or Donate -- You can donate to the project at any level, but if you donate at the $500 or $1000 levels, you will receive special recognition within the VR experience.
Other Ways to Help
Your donations help build the infrastructure necessary to support the MarsVR program. But if you can't pledge money, there are still ways you can help! Spread the word on social media and tell your friends.
MarsVR Website: http://marsvr.io
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMarsSociety
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/themarssociety
Note: HP and HP Mars Home Planet are not affiliated with this initiative.
Risks and challenges
We see the risks as low:
We will be working with a world-class VR development team that has lots of experience with this type of project as well as photogrammetry captures.
We will be sending a team out to MDRS to capture the facilities and environment, and put that into a VR environment. Travelling to the MDRS (which in in the middle of the Utah desert) is always a challenge, but we have lots of experience coordinating this type of travel.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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