NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) collaborated with independent game studio Blackbird Interactive (BBI) to create an incredibly realistic interactive 3D Mars base simulation called Project Eagle. Using current science and potential technology development inspired by it, users can venture through the simulation’s multi-level Eagle Base where “past” and “current” colony construction, energy, and habitation projects are on display with infographics explaining their design and overall functionality. The timeline is set 100 years in the future with a red planet population that starts with around 5500 colonists that are visibly carrying out a life among the regolith.

The imagined colony is located in the Gale Crater, an area slightly south of Mars’s equator on the Eastern hemisphere, which is also the same spot NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover landed on August 6, 2012. In fact, the simulation has a monument set just outside the colony which commemorates Curiosity. The topographical and geographic features are based on actual map data collected by Mars satellites and rovers that were provided to BBI, and through a series of time lapses, users can experience a virtual day, sunsets, nights, and sunrises. This region is also near the Elysium Planitia where NASA’s recently arrived InSight lander is located.

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