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The Field Trip to Mars

Award: Graphite Pencil

Graphite Pencil / Direct / Direct Innovation / 2017

Space is experiencing a cultural Renaissance to rival the excitement of the Space Race. SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Mars One, and movies recaptured the general public’s imagination with space. Only Lockheed Martin is making travel to Mars and deep space a reality.

Humans will set foot on Mars within two decades, making STEM education more important than ever. So we set out to inspire the next generation of deep space explorers, creating a VR experience that shows them what it’s like to visit Mars

Solution & Cultural Context:
We rendered 200 sq. mi of Mars’ surface based on real Mars geography and mapped it to D.C streets.
Then we bought a school bus.
The bus was gutted and equipped with custom electric glass that switched from transparent to opaque, plus 4K transparent LCDs, while preserving its school bus appearance.
Integrating our Mars landscape, custom screens, GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer and laser velocimeter, the bus became a VR headset. When it moved, Mars moved and when it turned, it turned on Mars.

The day after launch the bus was a trending topic on Facebook for over 24 hours and social conversation spread to over 50 countries. News outlets like NBC, ABC and Fox covered the story as well as leading technology and innovation sites like Engadget, PSFK, Futurism and Digital Trends.

In the week following its debut, Lockheed Martin saw a 3000% increase in conversation around Mars, and 260% more mentions than SpaceX. Videos featuring the Field Trip to Mars have been viewed over 6 million times. 

Our virtual reality Mars experience debuted at the USA Science & Engineering Festival and was a huge hit. Over 2,500 attendees took the trip to Mars, even waiting over an hour to try out the revolutionary experience.

Demand for the bus spawned a long term tour, visiting schools and inspiring students across the country, and showing them that Lockheed Martin can take them further than they ever imagined.

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