This is a magic school bus like you’ve never seen before. Lockheed Martin, a company not known for its subtlety, is bringing STEM education to the next level with its new Generation Beyond program, a national education initiative aimed at bringing “the science of space into thousands of homes and classrooms across America.” Hoping to inspire a new generation of innovative thinkers who will explore and push the sciences to never-before-seen heights, the program is based upon a number of interactive tools that are as engaging as they are educational.
As the core of Generation Beyond sits its online curriculum, geared toward middle school teachers and students. Lesson plans and activities are provided for educators to help excite their classrooms about science, technology, and math, and Lockheed Martin promises that its deep-space curriculum will be made publicly available to “thousands of middle schools across the country, reaching hundreds of thousands of American students.”
But the real draw is the Mars Experience Bus. No ordinary form of transportation, this bus will travel nationwide and give students “an interactive experience simulating a drive along the red planet’s surface.” Heralded as the first truly immersive virtual reality automotive experience, the bus actually recreates 200 square miles of the Red Planet’s surface. And to further feed the Mars obsession, the company has launched a Hello Mars app, which helps students find Mars in the nighttime sky and receive real-time weather reports.
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“Our children — the elementary, middle, and high school students of today — make up a generation that will change our universe forever. This is the generation that will walk on Mars, explore deep space and unlock mysteries that we can’t yet imagine,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chair, president, and CEO. “They won’t get there alone. It is our job to prepare, inspire and equip them to build the future – and that’s exactly what Generation Beyond is designed to do.”