Lockheed Martin Prepares the Next Possible Mars Astronauts with its Virtual Reality Bus

Lockheed Martin Prepares the Next Possible Mars Astronauts with its Virtual Reality Bus
Passengers enjoy Lockheed Martin’s Generation Beyond Mars Virtual Mars Bus at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science August 27, 2016. The exhibit takes passengers on a virtual reality video tour of Mars including a blast off and a ride touring various terrain and stations on Mars. Andy Cross, The Denver Post

As preparation continues for many different organizations planning to head to Mars in the not too distant future, one company that is hoping to spark even more interest is global aerospace giants, Lockheed Martin. As one of the major players in the market Lockheed Martin are taking a different approach to the promotion of Mars exploration and are going directly to those that are most likely to be the ones going, and that is middle schoolers.

In their ploy to get more youngsters interested in space and specifically Mars exploration, they have created a virtual reality experience that takes place on a school bus.  While it has recently been situated outside the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, it will soon be making its way around the country to share the experience with other young, budding astronauts.   The experience features a virtual reality tour of Mars and shows the bus driving through a passing space storm while a yellow-orange cloud of smoke enveloped the bus, and the computer warned of flying debris in sight.

At the end of the experience, almost all of the youngsters leave wanting to go to Mars for real.  The Orion spacecraft that is set to go to Mars is due to enduring its first exploration mission in 2018, with hopes for the planned mission to go ahead in 2030.  These middle school children experiencing the Mars virtual reality bus could be going there in less than fifteen years.  Students that are seriously interested and think they know what astronauts might need during their mission to the red planet are invited to take part in a video challenge where the winner will receive $10,000 and an exciting “space experience” which no details have yet been revealed.

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