HP, NVIDIA, Technicolor to Explore Future of Humanity on Mars with “HP Mars Home Planet”

by David Weinstein

HP Mars Home Planet — which kicks off at this week’s SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles — promises to bring designers, inventors, space enthusiasts and experts together to examine the possibilities for colonization of our nearest neighboring planet.

Participants in HP Mars Home Planet will work together to design and engineer an urban area for one million new inhabitants on Mars. Then they’ll bring it to life through photorealistic renders and virtual reality.

The planet Mars, of course, has long fascinated humanity, and ever since early astronomers peered at Mars with some of the first telescopes, the world been using technology to fuel that fascination.

Fusion’s Mars 2030 — introduced last year — was among the first VR experiences NVIDIA collaborated on to bring interest to the Red Planet via VR. HP Mars Home Planet promises to accelerate this experience, turning humanity’s long fascination with Mars into a global endeavor.

“Mars Home Planet is a fantastic opportunity to explore how this evolving medium will shape our future,” said Logan Brown, executive producer of the Technicolor Experience Center and US head of VR and immersive content at MPC Film. “It will provide opportunities to solve some of society’s greatest challenges – from planning the cities of the future to helping medical patients feel less pain, to connecting families across the globe.”

The first, or Concept Phase, of the three phase initiative kicking off this week at SIGGRAPH, gives participants an opportunity to shape the future of life on Mars by imagining and illustrating a vehicle, building, infrastructure or products that will form the living and working ecosystem for one million humans.  Submissions can be anything from scanned napkin sketches with crayons, to 3D renderings, to a bitmap image accompanied by a text description.

Powerful software, hardware and cutting-edge technologies are necessary to create a realistic simulation of a planet made up of deserts, unexplored territories, and some of the most spectacular scenery in our solar system. Along with HP, Technicolor and our other partners, we’re putting powerful tools into participant’s hands to build an amazing experience.

Our VRWorks Software Development Kit (SDK) offers technologies such as VR SLI, Single Pass Stereo and Lens Matched Shading to help improve the performance, efficiency and image quality of VR rendering. And VRWorks 360 Video, Audioand PhysX bring realistic sound, touch and physical simulations to VR environments.

Participants can create digital models of their concepts with help from Autodesk design software, which will be later brought to life in 3D using Unreal Engine and HTC Vive, with the technical guidance of Technicolor — resulting in a realistic simulation of what life on Mars could be like.

“HP Mars Home Planet is an exciting project for Technicolor to be working on with HP and NVIDIA because we believe immersive media has applicability to other areas beyond just entertainment,” MPC’s Brown said.

“Mars Home Planet is an HP and NVIDIA-led project to create a VR experience for humanity’s future on Mars,” says Rick Champagne, worldwide segment manager for media & entertainment, HP Z workstations. “Continuing our work with Technicolor, a leader in high-quality immersive experience, with the help of the world’s creative community, everyone on Earth will be able to experience what life on Mars might be like.”

Phase Two, or the Modeling Phase, kicks off November 15th at Autodesk University, where the Concept winners will be announced. The third, Rendering Phase, launches at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in March 2018. Winners will be announced by HP at SIGGRAPH 2018.

Participants can register now at hp.com/go/mars. The first 10,000 registrants will have access to the Fusion Mars 2030 download code and terrain files.