WHAT: Future Flight, a free space-themed main attraction at Super Bowl Live, a nine-day fan festival running Jan. 28 through Feb. 5 in Houston, site of Super Bowl LI. It combines experiential exhibits to educate the public on the technologies involved in and experience of being in space.
WHY WE CARE: Houston, this year’s Superbowl host city, is also home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, so the pairing was a natural to celebrate its “Superbowl of the Future” theme and provide a fun way to educate more people about science and technology. Future Flight exhibits and activities showcase NASA and aerospace industry progress toward a manned exploration to Mars, scientific research aboard the International Space Station, next-generation observatories, and how technology drives exploration.
Riders can experience a VR trip to Mars complete with a 90-foot free-fall drop simulating the return from Mars to Earth, and landing on the 50-yard line of NRG Stadium where the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons. Fans can also view models of NASA’s Orion spacecraft for water recovery training, Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars; space exploration concept vehicles; and a football that spent five months aboard the ISS.
It also includes displays of NASA partner technologies—Aerojet Rocketdyne engine models powering NASA’s Space Launch System rocket; an interactive wall by Boeing; Lockheed Martin’s VR trip over the Mars surface; Orbital ATK’s interactive launcher, Raytheon’s science mobile museum; and Northrup Grumman’s full-size replica of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018.