April 6, 2016—Bringing to life the first steps of visiting our neighbouring planet, Mars 2030, an interactive virtual reality experience, debuted today at the GPU Technology Conference. Created by NVIDIA and FUSION Media, Mars 2030 transports people in VR to the Red Planet, where they are immersed in the simulated life of one of the first arriving NASA astronauts. They can explore deep space, live in a realistic Martian habitat, drive across the planet’s surface and drill into the surface of its ancient lake beds.
Speaking at the GTC opening keynote, NVIDIA CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang introduced the experience to personal computing pioneer Steve “Woz” Wozniak over a video link powered by Cisco TelePresence. Wearing a VR headset, Woz, an advocate of Mars travel, said, “Oh my gosh, this is going to be incredible for whoever actually gets to travel to Mars!”
Mars 2030 was developed using scientifically accurate satellite imagery and data gathered in years of exploration missions. It boasts a level of graphics fidelity that is only possible with NVIDIA VRWorks technologies.
“One in a billion people alive today will get to visit Mars, so this is for the rest of us,” said Zvi Greenstein, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “Mars 2030 is being created as a true to life experience, while aiming for the highest visual fidelity possible in VR today, something only NVIDIA technology can deliver.”
NASA is providing technical expertise to FUSION through a Space Act Agreement to make the first Mars surface VR experience based on actual operational and hardware concepts that the Journey to the Red Planet: ‘Mars 2030’ VR Experience Debuts at GTC agency is currently studying. Mars 2030 incorporates VRWorks’ Multi-Res Shading, which renders each part of an image to best suit the pixel density required by a headset. It also includes VR SLI, which can assign multiple GPUs to a specific eye to accelerate stereo rendering.
“As a part of FUSION’s commitment to innovative storytelling, we are always looking for unique ways to take our audience to interesting places,” said Julian Reyes, lead VR producer at FUSION. “We are thrilled that NVIDIA’s latest technologies, combined with what NASA has planned for the next frontier of space exploration, will allow us to push visual boundaries, convincing users that they are 141 million miles away from home on the surface of Mars.” GTC attendees can experience the first mission in Mars 2030, an exploration of an enormous Martian lava tube, from April 4-7 in the San Jose Convention Center.