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The core of the MarsVR suite of experiences, MDRSVR takes you to the digital twin of the Mars Desert Research Station where you'll embark on an unprecedented journey to the enigmatic Martian desert analog from the comfort of home.

What is MarsVR and MDRSVR?
MarsVR is multi-project collaboration between MXTreality & The Mars Society, with the objective of broadening participation and knowledge concerning human settlements on the red planet. MDRSVR is the core experience of the suite, that takes you to the MDRS in virtual reality.

What is the MDRS?
The MDRS is the Mars Desert Research Station, owned, built, and operated for over 20 years by the Mars Society. It is located in the Utah desert, and hosts academics, scientists, and astronauts in training for crews of 6, for 2-week missions.

1. Concept Overview:
MDRS-VR is an immersive educational game that transports players to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, a high-fidelity analog for Mars exploration. Players assume the role of a budding astronaut-in-training and undergo a comprehensive training program covering engineering checks, Ingress, Egress, Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA), cooking, cultivation, telescope operation, and EV maintenance. The game combines realistic environments, hands-on experiences, and informative elements to offer players an engaging and educational journey into the challenges of living and working on Mars.

2. Gameplay Mechanics:
Training Modules: Players engage in a series of training modules, each focusing on a specific aspect of Mars exploration. These include navigating the station, performing engineering checks, learning proper Ingress and Egress procedures, conducting EVAs, preparing Martian-inspired meals, cultivating crops, operating the telescope for research, and maintaining EV equipment.

Realistic Interaction: Players interact with objects and systems through intuitive gestures and actions. For instance, they physically open hatches during EVA training, prepare meals by following step-by-step instructions, and troubleshoot equipment issues by examining components.

Informational Pop-ups: Throughout the game, contextual pop-ups provide detailed information on scientific principles, engineering concepts, and Mars-related trivia. These pop-ups enhance players' understanding of the challenges faced during real Mars missions.

Martian Gravity: The game incorporates a Martian gravity simulation, affecting player movement and interactions, giving a genuine feel of navigating the lower gravity environment.

Easter Eggs: Hidden easter eggs within the environment offer surprises for players who are keen explorers, adding an element of fun discovery to the experience.

3. Visuals and Audio:
Environments: MDRS-VR features accurate recreations of the MDRS habitat, including the surrounding Martian landscape, the habitat's interior, equipment, and living quarters. Some features have been enhanced and futurized to improve game play.

Immersive Soundscapes: Players are surrounded by ambient sounds resembling the MDRS environment, adding to the sense of presence. Audio cues also guide players through different training scenarios. Soundscapes, effects, and background music have been custom built for this experience.

4. Progression and Challenges:
Training Levels: The game is structured around a progression of training requirements, with various degrees of complexity. Players must successfully complete each training to unlock the next, encouraging skill development and understanding.

Challenges: In each training module, players face challenges mimicking real-life scenarios on Mars, such as dealing with water and energy supplies, solving puzzles to grow crops effectively, and Egress and Ingress procedures.

5. Learning Objectives:
MDRS-VR aims to educate players on the practicalities of Mars exploration while fostering an appreciation for the scientific, engineering, and logistical challenges involved. The game promotes critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deeper understanding of space science.

6. Platforms:
The gamified edutainment experience is developed for various virtual reality platforms, such as Oculus Rift, Meta Quest, HTC Vive, and other VR headsets. You can download it for free through SteamVR.

7. Target Audience:
MDRS-VR is designed for space enthusiasts, students, and anyone curious about Mars exploration. It serves as an educational tool, making space science and engineering accessible and engaging to a wide audience.

In Conclusion:
MDRS-VR offers a unique blend of immersive gameplay, realistic environments, and educational content, taking players on an unforgettable journey to the Mars Desert Research Station. By combining engaging training scenarios, factual information, and a touch of exploration, the game aims to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts and foster a deeper appreciation for the challenges and wonders of Mars exploration.

For more details:
On related projects, visit
On the Mars Society, visit
On the developer, visit

#Mars #MarsComms #MarsSociety #MarsVR #Space
#MXTreality #MarsComms #VR #AR #MR #virtualreality #mixedreality

@SeeYouOnMars ​@TheMarsSociety @mxtreality @jamesburk @thexrman

Key Project Info


The MDRS was established, meaning it has been operational for over two decades


Crew members allowed to stay at the MDRS each year


Approx number of public visitors who attempt to enter the private lands around the MDRS



It's a shame that so many people want to see the MDRS, but are not allowed to... so we built MDRSVR, so that everyone gets that chance

James Burk

Executive Director, TMS

Project Gallery

Key Things to Remember

    Here are five interesting facts about the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS):

    Location: The MDRS is situated near Hanksville, Utah, USA. It was strategically chosen due to its resemblance to the Martian landscape, making it an ideal analog for simulating Mars missions and conducting research.

    Operational Time: Established in 2001, the MDRS has been operational for over two decades. It has served as a valuable training ground for astronauts, scientists, and engineers preparing for future missions to Mars.

    Habitat Design: The MDRS habitat is designed to simulate the living conditions that astronauts might experience on Mars. The habitat includes living quarters, workspaces, a greenhouse, observatory, and necessary equipment for conducting various scientific experiments.

    Research Focus: The primary focus of research at the MDRS revolves around human factors, technology, and equipment testing in an extreme environment. This includes studying crew dynamics, conducting geological surveys, testing equipment reliability, and experimenting with sustainable living practices.

    Analog Missions: The MDRS hosts analog missions that simulate Mars exploration scenarios. These missions involve crews of researchers and professionals who live in the habitat for extended periods, conducting various experiments and operations that mimic the challenges faced during real Mars missions.

    These statistics highlight the importance of the Mars Desert Research Station in advancing our understanding of Mars exploration and preparing for future interplanetary missions.
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