Video: Mars Society’s MarsVR virtual reality platform to assist human exploration of Martian landing sites

The Mars Society is holding the MarsVR  Kickstarter campaign to fund development of “a virtual reality platform for serious research to support the human exploration of Mars” –

The MarsVR program will be a unique multi-phase effort designed to pioneer the emerging field of CrowdExploration, which we define as the partnership between the first astronauts on Mars and VR experts and enthusiasts back on Earth. The Mars Society aims to develop a special VR platform to assist with the initial human exploration of Martian landing sites.

Phase 1 of the MarsVR program will focus on designing training simulations for the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, providing direct assistance in preparing MDRS crew members for their analog research and testing. Since every moment at MDRS is valuable, just like actual astronauts working in space, the Mars Society wants its crew members to make the most of their time “on Mars.” We will also open-source the key elements of the platform so that the general public can freely make use of it to experience human Mars exploration.

As part of the new MarsVR initiative, the Mars Society plans to build a high-resolution simulation of the entire MDRS habitat, both inside and out. To complete the experience, Mars Society staff will scan a one-square mile capture of the Mars-like terrain around MDRS using the latest photogrammetry techniques. Funds raised beyond the $25,000 project goal will be used to expand the VR platform beyond the initial one-square mile capture to allow for a broader Mars experience for both crew and members of the public.

Find more details about the project at MarsVR.


Videos: pushing scale model rocketry capabilities to new heights

Joe Barnard founded the company to push scale model rocketry to new levels of sophistication:

Barnard Propulsion Systems develops model rocketry components, aimed at closely matching the pace of advancement in the space-launch industry. Learning by experimentation is the most effective way to gain a deep understanding of new concepts, which is why providing hands-on experience with advanced rocketry components is important for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts.

A BPS flight computer, for example, provides for

 “thrust vectoring, controlling parachutes, data logging, and in-flight emergency aborts. Safer, more realistic flights—no fins required”.

Model rocket motor with electronic gimbal control.

This brief video shows off some of the company’s rocket technologies:

This video shows a talk given by Barnard about BPS Space:

You can follow and support Barnard’s projects at is creating Rockets | Patreon.

“A successful static fire test of Scout in June, 2017”


Video: “Artist Depiction” to create documentary about space artists

The Artist Depiction Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign seeks support for a three part documentary series about the history of space art at NASA:

Artist Depiction is a documentary series about artists who have helped bring NASA projects to life. Their incredible artwork is ubiquitous, and yet these artists have been behind the scenes until now. We seek to give a voice to these artists: Don Davis, Charles Lindsay, and Rick Guidice. These oral histories will be lost to time without a series like this. 

Inside of a toroidal space colony as envisioned by artist Don Davis

Some background about the project is provided in this article: Upcoming Video Series Explores the Retro-Futuristic Space Colonies of NASA Artists – Gizmodeo

Why is the work of these NASA artists important in 2018? [Director Brett Ryan Bonowicz] explains that not only are these old space colony images still being used today to represent “the future,” they’ve also inspired so many of the designers that would come after them.

“Neill Blomkamp and Elysium. Christopher Nolan and Interstellar. Almost every day of our [crowdfunding] campaign someone mentions how ‘that artwork looks like Halo man.’” Bonowicz told me over email.

“It’s important to have these first-hand accounts from the artists that were depicting Gerard O’Neill’s original ideas about these colonies. Without these films those accounts are lost.”

And here is a brief video about the project: ADIndiegogo on Vimeo