NASA, the United States' space agency, has teamed up with Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, to offer a challenge for developers to help create a Martian metaverse experience.
Among the challenges will be building numerous essential habitats for Martian astronauts, which will be recreated using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5 to provide a realistic environment.
The competition intends to populate an already-running metaverse environment called MarsXR, which has mapped 400 km2 of Mars landscape with realistic day/night cycles, all modeled with Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5, which will also be used by the event's developers.
Set up camp, scientific research, maintenance, exploration, and blow our minds are the virtual experiences NASA has established as categories for this assignment, each with a particular objective to perform.
The challenge will award a total prize pool of $70,000 to the victors, divided into twenty separate awards. This means that the average award for each category will be $6,000.
While institutions have been sluggish to adopt virtual reality and metaverse-based programs, this appears to be changing, as both Microsoft and Meta are releasing virtual reality suites. Last year, Microsoft revealed that Mesh, a software that replaces video with digital avatars for meetings and presentations, will be integrated directly into the popular Microsoft Teams program.