by Peter Rasmussen

Tour De Mars

Posted by Peter Rasmussen on March 11, 2007

I have figured out a way of staging a major sporting event on Mars. The aim is to give the general public a stronger sense of participation in space exploration and give an alien landscape like Mars a human scale.

NASA has a fairly detailed 3D map of Mars. There exists also 3D software and hardware to move through such a virtual environment using VR headgear linked to an exercise bike.

The idea is for cyclists from competing countries to ride a marathon distance over the surface of Mars in virtual space. The aim of the event would be to raise money for a worthy terrestrial charity while giving the exploration of Mars profile in the media. It may be possible to set up each cyclist in a shop front of a bookshop that has a special interest in science or science fiction. Monitors would display various views of the journey. This could be piped straight to the Internet. It should be possible to make the Tour De Mars an international event, without the competitors needing to be in the same physical location.

We have seen glimpses of mars but it’s hard to relate to or imagine how it is to actually be there. Covering a bike race from start to finish provides an excellent opportunity for spectacular virtual camera coverage. Tracking shots and “helicopter shots” are a breeze in a 3D model. We can show just how breathtaking locations like the chasms of the Valles Marineris or Olympus Mons are on the scale of this human contest.


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