With a little help from Epic Games and the Unreal Engine, a schoolbus full of children has made a trip to Mars. In reality, the kids were making the journey to Washington DC’s USA Science and Engineering Festival, but what they saw outside the window was very different: More than 200 square miles of Martian terrain.
It’s all part of Lockheed Martin’s “Generation Beyond” campaign, designed to introduce kids to space travel, and was created by McCann New York. The Martian landscape was faithfully recreated by Framestore, in an innovative “group VR” experience.
Rather than giving each child their own headset or 3D glasses, the system used the bus itself, displaying the new landscape on the windows. The technology even hooked into the steering system, so that the view outside changed and turned when the vehicle did.
If you can’t get on the bus, there’s also a companion smartphone app (Hello Mars), which offers real-time Mars weather reports, a virtual visit, and help to find the planet in the night sky.
Through the Generation Beyond project, Lockheed Martin is bringing space science into homes and classrooms across America, inspiring the next generation of innovators, explorers, inventors and pioneers.
Looks like this was a one-time deal, but the possibilities and the potential for the technology is endless. While you may have read about The Magic Schoolbus, or watched the TV series, kids of tomorrow might be able to literally climb aboard.