• NASA has partnered with Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite.
  • The challenge calls for developers to aid NASA in building an environment which will include various tasks including designing several key environments for Martian astronauts.
  • NASA plans to use the already-started world called MarsXR for the challenges.

The US space agency NASA has partnered with Epic Games–the company behind Fortnite. The goal of the partnership is to challenge developers to create a Martian metaverse experience.

The challenge, which was posted on the crowdsourcing problem-solving platform, Herox, calls for developers to aid NASA in building an environment that will include various tasks including designing several key environments for Martian astronauts. The experiences will be rendered using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 to provide a realistic environment.

NASA plans to use the already-started world called MarsXR, which has now mapped 400 square kilometers of Mars terrain, for the challenges. The MarsXR world also includes realistic day and night cycles, which are all modeled with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5. With this being the case, developers will also have to use the game engine for challenge submissions.

The virtual experiences that NASA has defined as categories for the challenge include scientific research, exploration, set up camp, maintenance, and blow our minds. Each category will have a different purpose that will need to be fulfilled.

The challenge will include a total prize purse of $70,000 which will be shared across twenty individual prizes. This means that each prize for every category will be an average of $6,000.

According to the Herox page, NASA’s activity has already attracted a lot of attention from several groups that are keen to participate in the challenge and contribute to growing NASA’s Martian metaverse. At the time of writing, more than 24 teams and 237 innovators are contributing to the construction of the Martian simulation.

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