Even though Blender has not been accepted into the Google Summer of Code, one Blender project did get in and it involves going to Mars! (Well, virtually).
Franco Carbognani writes:
The Italian chapter of the Mars Society (IMS) is spearheading the European MaRs Analog Station for Advanced Technologies Integration project (ERAS http://www.erasproject.org). ERAS’ main goal is to provide an effective test bed for field operation studies in preparation for human missions to Mars. We are currently working on an immersive virtual reality simulation of the ERAS Station (V-ERAS) based on the Blender Game Engine. The major advantage of such virtualization is that it will be possible to undertake training sessions with a crew that can interact with its future environment before the actual station is built.
We we will participate this year to the ESA Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS 2015) and to the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) under the Python Software Foundation (PSF) umbrella. Both program offer students stipends for working on Open Source projects.
If you are interested in contributing code to the ERAS project you should start by visiting our GSoC and SoCiS project ideas pages witch contains a list of suggested projects.
You may decide to work on these ideas or use them as a starting point for your own. Either way, come talk to us on the [email protected] mailing list and on our IRC channel #IMS on Freenode.