Lavamatic is an educational game about the existence of Martian lava tubes, including data crowdsourcing. You are a brave Rover on an exploratory mission.

This game intends to educate children (and their parents) about Mars exploration, lava tubes and how these could be helpful for colonization. It also helps NASA discover lava tubes entrances by analyzing the places often picked by players during game plays.

The Challenge: Survivor: Mars Lava Tubes

Develop a game allowing players to explore lava tubes on Mars. Astronauts might one day use lava tubes for shelter from dust storms and space radiation, which are dangerous hazards on Mars. The lava tubes can also be used for exploring underground access to resources. The game could be searching for lava tubes with real data and/or building a simulated community within the lava tubes highly dependent on local resources. The challenge in developing this Space App will be in learning about lava tubes, how to access and utilize NASA’s Mars datasets, and how a future Martian might survive with minimal to no resupply from Earth via Massless Exploration.

When we first heard of this challenge, we weren't aware of what a lava tube was and thought it may be the same for most people so we decided to make an accessible game, that's easy to play, but efficient in transmitting information.

The Game

You, the main character, a.k.a. Robbie the robot, have landed on Mars and have to collect information and resources to help humans colonize the planet. This game has two stages :

  • First, you're on Mars' ground, subject to radiation, dust storms and frostiness. Due to these threats, you are constantly losing life, so you must hurry to find shelter! And what can be better shelter on Mars than pre-existing lava tubes, already deep underground? On a map generated with real pictures of Mars' surface, you must try to find access to lava tubes by drilling surface incongruities, like noticeable holes and bumps. If this place really is an entrance, then CONGRATULATIONS! You're going into stage two!

  • When you're underground, you'll have to collect resources in order to stay alive, repair yourself, or to finally find suitable places for humans to live. Avoid encounters with bearstronauts, swimming in lava, and these lava tubes could totally embrace human life! Once you've completely discovered all resources in a level of a zone, you get an upgrade allowing you to explore another zone on the Martian surface to find an another entrance, while flagging these entrances "fully explored"!

The Goal

Beyond gaming, people will learn simple but useful things about Mars exploration. 

  • While collecting resources, explanations will appear to explain how these resources would be used, the possibilities for using the lava tubes in order to create a fully functional human society and the threats people will have to fight and how.

  • While searching for entrances, the game will collect the real coordinates of the incongruities picked by people, and if they are picked by an enough people, this data will be sent to NASA, who will have the opportunity to verify this information. It's named crowd-sourcing, and it's using the most powerful computer in the world: the human brain.

It's simple, it's competitive - with a score to compare with your peers, and also helping real research for possible human colonization.

made in

Lyon, France

from the minds of...
  • Laurent Senta
  • Yoann Ouabdesselam
  • Edouard Cockenpot
  • Olivia Reaney
at Space Apps 2015

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