MarsVR Position Paper

The MarsVR Project

Author: James Burk – IT Director, The Mars Society

Updated: 29 November 2017

Executive Summary

MarsVR is a new Mars Society effort to promote the use of Virtual & Augmented Reality technologies for public outreach and research purposes.  It is led by James Burk, IT Director for the Mars Society and the leader of our Internet Task Force (ITF).  James is a software developer as well as an engineering project manager with over 20 years of experience at Microsoft and other companies.

MarsVR has three components —

1) a leadership council of VR experts that are interested in helping the Mars Society with MarsVR but also have their own projects (some of which are commercial and closed source).

2) a vision for an open source library of VR models (for example of our MDRS facilities and the surrounding terrain) as well as tools and guides for how to use them to create VR experiences.

3) a vision for an official Mars Society VR application that can be run on multiple devices for public outreach of our goal — sending humans to Mars.

This position paper will elucidate the current thinking and progress of these goals and is a living document.


Leadership Council

This is being formed and will have more details here soon on how to join.


MarsVR Open Source Library

MarsVR Open Source Library pillars:
1) All materials provided will be posted on Github or a similar cloud repo and widely accessible with an open source (attribution required) license (exact one TBD).
2) A high priority is an official Mars Society 3-D Model set of assets of the MDRS and surrounding terrain, based off of previous work already done as of today.
3) An additional high priority is an official Mars Society 3-D module of a vision for the Mars Direct base, described in Dr. Robert Zubrin’s seminal work The Case for Mars.


MarsVR Application

This will be a project to create a VR experience of walking on the surface of Mars.

MarsVR Application pillars:
1) Open source stack
2) Real high-resolution NASA/JPL imagery
3) Accessible on a wide array of hardware