- Press Release
- Mar 21, 2023
HeroX Launches Second Challenge to Source VR Technology for Future Mars Mission Research
HeroX, the leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions, with Epic Games and Buendea, today launched a new crowdsourcing competition.
The NASA MarsXR 2 Challenge is a follow-up to the original NASA MarsXR Challenge. It seeks contributions and storyboard concepts for a Virtual Reality testbed environment that replicates the experiences and situations astronauts may encounter on Mars.
To facilitate research, development, and testing using virtual reality, NASA, in collaboration with Buendea is developing the Mars XR Operations Support System using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 (UE5). Challenge participants will be given access to a virtual reality environment simulating Mars, which includes:
- Full Martian days, with the orange hues of day transitioning to blue at night
- Simulation of Martian gravity
- Simulation of Martian weather conditions
- Over 400 km2 (approximately 154 Miles) of realistic Mars terrain
- Some existing assets, such as suits and rovers
Phase 1 will task participants with developing storyboard concepts of potential scenarios needed during early human expeditions to Mars. In Phase 2, participants will build out those scenarios in the virtual reality environment. These models can then be used to expose researchers and test subjects to immersive and realistic spacewalk activities while on the red planet. Information gained from these simulations could help NASA prepare for future human exploration of Mars.
“We are launching this sequel challenge to engage a greater number of thinkers and creators,” said Kal Sahota, CEO of HeroX. “We had a lot of success with the first challenge, and with this storyboard option, we expect even more innovative ideas and a broader audience of participants.”
“Whether a game designer, architect, hobbyist, rocket scientist, or creative with an expansive vision, anyone will enjoy exploring and building in the Mars XOSS Engine,” said Julian Reyes, the Founder of Buendea. “We can’t wait to see the immersive simulations this diverse community dreams up.”
The Challenge: The NASA MarsXR 2 Challenge asks the larger community to imagine and build out scenarios of tasks required for early human expeditions to Mars in a Virtual Reality Mars simulation.
The Prize: Up to 15 participants who submit the top ideas will share a total prize purse of $70,000.
Eligibility to Compete and Win Prize(s): The prize is open to anyone aged 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (some restrictions apply).
To accept the challenge, visit herox.com/MarsXR2
HeroX is a platform and open marketplace for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.
To explore other challenges on HeroX, www.herox.com/crowdsourcing-projects
ABOUT EPIC GAMES
Founded in 1991, Epic Games is an American company founded by CEO Tim Sweeney. The company is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina and has more than 50 offices worldwide. Today Epic is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates one of the world’s largest games, Fortnite, and Epic has over 500 million accounts with 2.7 billion friend connections across Fortnite, Rocket League, and the Epic Games Store. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is also adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation. Through Unreal Engine, Epic Games Store, and Epic Online Services, Epic provides an end-to-end digital ecosystem for developers and creators to build, distribute, and operate games and other content.
Buendea is a group dedicated to technical innovation and breakthroughs in real-time graphics for XR simulation, training, and education. Buendea is passionate about storytelling and creating new forms of shared experiences that bridge the physical and digital.