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Image credit: Mars 2030

See how NASA envisions a 'Mars 2030' landing in VR

It will cost you $15 to explore 15 miles of virtual Martian landscape.
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Mars 2030

Just because you can't go with the astronauts NASA chooses for the first manned mission to Mars doesn't mean you can't experience the Red Planet for yourself. A NASA-approved virtual experience called Mars 2030 has just landed on the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and the PC through Steam. It puts you in the space shoes of an astronaut exploring 15 miles of Martian landscape, which was modeled after the planet's real surface as captured by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera.

Its 8K resolution will help make all the tasks you can do within its virtual world as real as possible. You can roam the planet's surface, collect samples and then analyze them under the virtual microscope in your habitat that's designed after an actual NASA concept for the first Mars-bound spacefarers. Once you're done analyzing the specimen, you can even beam your findings back to Earth like a real astronaut would. In addition, the displays for your suit and rover will show biometric data and life support gauges to add authenticity to the experience.

Mars 2030 will set you back $15 for those three platforms -- it's not out for the PlayStation VR yet, but it will be available for Sony's PS4 console "soon." We'd love to see its developers release a "Potato Planting" expansion, as well, but that's probably just wishful thinking on our part.

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