MDRS Photogrammetry Scans Completed / Matterport Scans Available NOW

Greetings CrowdExplorers,

Tonight I received some great news from our team onsite at the MDRS. They have completed all of our scans on Day 2, which is well ahead of schedule. They’ve already acquired over 15,000 high-resolution photos of the terrain around the MDRS using drones, cameras, and other scanning equipment.

In addition, we have full coverage of the inside of the MDRS facilities, including some amazing 360 panoramas that you can walk around in, which are ready NOW! (see below) We also have literally thousands of high-resolution photos of the inside and outside of all the facilities that we’ll be able to use to create an AMAZING VR environment that’s photo-realistic.

Our team is now preparing to return home so we can begin the huge amount of work to build our VR environment over this summer. So far, everything is on schedule and we are very excited about this milestone being completed!

Now for the good stuff: we used our donated Matterport camera to take dozens of 360 panoramic scans of the inside of all of the MDRS facilities, and thanks to the amazing cloud-based processing technology at Matterport, these have already been fully processed. We now present them to you.

These are not static 360 panoramas — you can use your computer’s arrow keys to move around inside of them. These are absolutely amazing high-quality scans, but I just want to point out that they are not reflective of the final result of our project.  The open-source VR environment we will be building will be fully interactive and will have mission training scenarios, and other special content and activities to do while inside the VR simulation. I can’t wait to see that in action, but for now this is something we can all enjoy!

MDRS Hab Interior Scan

This complete scan of the MDRS Hab interior allows you to walk around and (for the first time on Matterport) go inside all of the crew staterooms and other areas of the hab. In comparison to the 2014 scans done by Victor Luo (see below), these scans were done with the MDRS in a more “bare-bones” post-field season configuration, which is great since we can use these in conjuction with new 3-D models we’ll build out and overlay onto the facilities for the purposes of our training scenarios.

It’s interesting to compare our new MDRS Hab Interior Scan with the December 2014 Matterport scans done by Victor Luo (of Crew 144, and now at JPL) which show the MDRS in a lived-in field season configuration:

Here are the other MDRS facilities we scanned:

Science Dome

This is our primary lab space with all the science equipment and supplies needed for biology, geology, and other types of research to be done onsite.

The Musk Observatory (aka the MDRS Solar Observatory)

This observatory has been recently converted to be a Sun-focused observatory, but was our original astronomical observatory.  It was built with funds donated by Elon Musk back in the early 2000s. (Before he became the real Tony Stark, or maybe a real-life James Bond villian.  Love you Elon!)

RAM (Repair and Assembly Module)

The RAM is our workshop where we can work on projects requiring tools and to repair existing hardware.  This will be a great place for future mission content…

MDRS Airlock

Scans of the MDRS Airlock with the internal door open & closed, which we will use to build our training scenario for going through the airlock. With this, you can study in detail all of the donors from our 2002 fundraising plaque, which people have asked about 🙂  I can’t wait to put some CrowdExplorer stickers next to this in our VR environment (and maybe IRL during our MarsVR Crew 197 rotation in October!)

MDRS Airlock Inner Door Open:

MDRS Airlock Inner Door Closed:

MDRS Hab Equipment Room

Scans of the MDRS Equipment room, which we will use for the training scenario of “gearing up” for your EVA.

MDRS Equipment Room:

MDRS Equipment Room 2:

This is amazing stuff, but this is only representative of the work we did inside the facilities.  We have also met our goal of capturing over 1 square mile of terrain outside and around the vicinity of the MDRS, as well as several EVA sites.  I can’t wait to share that with you!

Until next time, I’ll see you back at the MDRS soon (in VR!)

-James Burk
Program Manager, MarsVR