Published June 1, 2023 | Version 1.0
Software Open

Interactive Mars VR Environment


This interactive Virtual Reality (VR) experience allows the user to explore part of the Jezero crater on Mars. It is a demonstration of our workflow for visualizing Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and surface feature 3D models in a shared VR environment. Viewing topographic planetary data in 3D instead of a 2D projection on a monitor offers a more intuitive sense of scale and relation.

DEMs created with Shape from Shading are converted to terrains in Unity and allow the user to roam on the surface of Mars. 3D models of rocks and even a Perseverance drill hole are reconstructed with Structure from Motion and embedded on the Terrain. In addition to observing the data the user is also able to interact with the models and get haptic feedback.

The software works best with the HTC Vive Pro or the Valve Index and requires an installation of SteamVR. Use of the Index Knuckle controllers is recommended.

A video showing the VR environment and demonstrating some of the features can be found here:


Interactive Mars VR

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