NASA-backed ‘Mars 2030’ is a Breathtakingly Real Slice of Martian Landscape the Size of ‘Skyrim’


Mission Control

mars 2030 virtual reality (3)

What exactly we’ll do once inside the lava tube still being worked out, along with other activities that give you something to do in Mars 2030 when it launches on Steam this Fall.

“Ultimately [Mars 2030] is more of an education and outreach thing,” Justin Sonnekalb told me. “But that having been said we do intend to have a variety of missions in this sort of open-world context… you’ll go and take samples or maybe repair a vehicle… We’ve got six missions scoped out and we’re slowly building them.”

From what I gather after speaking with Reyes, Mars 2030 will launch initially for free, but there may be more to come.

“For the future we’re thinking of putting out mission components where you’re able to extend the replayability of the experience… almost like episodes,” Reyes said. These extra missions might be paid DLC, which I’d actually prefer if it means a way to keep Fusion focused on growing this experience. Reyes also told me that a multiplayer component was part of the original plan for Mars 2030, but that feature is currently up in the air.

At launch, Mars 2030 will support the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with a gamepad. Reyes says the team would like to include support for motion input, though he refrained from making an outright promise.

Meta Teases Project Cambria's Color Passthrough in New Videos

Disclosure: Road to VR was a media partner of GTC 2016.


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  • visual

    Anyone else find it numerous that someone already took the name Mars 2030 on Steam?

  • REP

    If you’re development for Vive, why wouldn’t you want to use motion controller? It doesn’t make sense to use gamepad.

    • Harry Hol

      To support both, they need to go with the sure thing.

      • Massimo

        “Thanks Oculus…”

        • yag

          Yeah thanks Oculus because we probably wouldn’t have the Vive without them.

          • JoeD

            Boy do you fanboys love to give credit where its not due. Sorry, but both Valve had been working on VR before that Palmer kid got involved.


            “But while all of this was happening, Valve was already at work on its own solution.”

            What you wouldn’t have is Oculus giving a shite about room scale and motion control.

          • yag

            I already answered to one, I won’t feed another one, sorry.

  • TaxPayer

    I want this

  • Leo Richard Comerford

    NASA’s been working on this idea for quite a long time: .

  • bladestorm91

    I hope there’s going to be more AEIOU

  • jlschmugge

    On why they aren’t using “comfort” crap: “Breaks the immersion”. I just fell in love with this developer. Not to mention a VR Mars simulation based on real data is a fantasy come to life.

  • Mike

    These are some of the most realistic visuals I’ve ever seen rendered in realtime. Most of the time it’s hard to even tell it’s not real.

  • Graham J ⭐️

    “they plan to scale things down so that the experience can still run on more common VR hardware like the GTX”

    The most common VR hardware is a Samsung phone. Hopefully they will scale it down enough to run on Gear VR so we don’t need $2k of equipment to view it.

    • yag

      Most common VR hardware ON PC. You won’t have this kind of open-world experience on mobile. Not before long…

    • JoeD

      They didn’t say MOST common, they said MORE common. If they scale it down for the Gear you’ll be looking at a mostly flat plane. Fun.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        I wasn’t nit picking semantics, I just meant that 970-level GPUs are still a relative rarity compared to mobile VR systems so it would be good for viewership if they could stream lower poly versions. Render distance would suffer for sure but nearby meshes could still be decent.

        • NeoTechni

          Hell, I have a 650Ti

  • Skies on Mars are blue, just like the Earth, unless there is alot of dust in the air. Well Mars does have dust storms on a global level on occasions, it’s not always “dusty” out. I’m not sure why NASA likes to put out these “Always Orange” pictures, other then it’s something the public expects, and people have accused them of faking their pictures. In their actual color, it kinda looks like high deserts on Earth, not very “otherworldly”.

    And the blueshift isn’t cause by water in the atmosphere, on Earth or anywhere else. Atmospheric gases, well transparent, still scatter light.

  • metanurb

    Sunset’s on Mars are blue tinted. It’s the one thing that annoyed me a bit in “The Martian” movie lol. And now maybe also this “Mars 2030”, unless they fix it (but I’ll still look forward to testing it, hope it works with DK2 as well, though maybe not without those Oculus controllers?)

    From the all-knowing wikipedia:

    “Around sunset and sunrise the Martian sky is pinkish-red in color, but in the vicinity of the setting sun or rising sun it is blue. This is the exact opposite of the situation on Earth. However, during the day the sky is a yellow-brown “butterscotch” color.[3] On Mars, Rayleigh scattering is usually a very small effect. It is believed that the color of the sky is caused by the presence of 1% by volume of magnetite in the dust particles. Twilight lasts a long time after the Sun has set and before it rises, because of all the dust in Mars’s atmosphere. At times, the Martian sky takes on a violet color, due to scattering of light by very small water ice particles in clouds”

    Another link:

    • Albert Walzer

      i also read somewhere (back in the time when the first two rovers were fresh) that everything on mars looks very desaturated in reality. They always had mentions on their fotos, too that they are recolored for “earthlike” light, because the real photos border on black and white or something. It would be really cool if the devs would include a “real mode” with all those aspects in mind….

  • RoJoyInc

    I’d buy another 980ti if the software is REALLY REAL. I want the ultimate experience.

  • Geffen Avraham

    Dual GTX 980 Tis? Who do they think will buy this?

  • Jens

    Soo, what happened? Why is it not released yet? Was it cut ?