January 7, 2017

Mars Bus Experience

In partnership with Lockheed Martin’s Generation Beyond program, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will host the high-tech Mars Experience Bus on Saturday, Jan. 7, in the Museum’s front parking lot. The approximately four-minute “journey” on the 30-passenger bus is free with general admission to the Museum.

The bus, which took 100 people five months to create, uses mobile virtual reality to show visitors what it’s like to drive on Mars’ surface. Created by Lockheed Martin, it features four 85-inch high-definition 4K monitors – and the film and animation run the Unreal 4 game engine, the same technology that powers the biggest hit video games. Family-friendly activity stations around the bus include stomp rockets, a “Mars photo” opportunity and an interactive model of the International Space Station.

While not mapped to specific features of Mars, the images bus visitors see are based on raw NASA image files from the planet. The animation includes a few manmade objects on Mars today, such as the Curiosity Rover, and passes through what the first base camp on Mars might look like. The Lockheed Martin team mapped more than 200 square miles of Mars for riders to virtually travel through.