If pop culture has taught us anything about space travel, it’s that the universe is full of fun, adventure, and possibilities. Peter Quill and Han Solo make it look pretty easy. One thing we don’t see a lot is the mind-meltingly tough math required to actually get off this little blue planet. So in order to find the next generation of engineering talent that will propel our galactic ambitions IRL, the aerospace company Lockheed Martin devised a unique puzzle to serve as a job interview for prospective students. And by puzzle, I mean a 14-foot-tall, gleaming black box that can only be opened by solving one of the world’s most impossible aerospace equations.
Created by Lockheed and agency McCann New York, the equation to get inside the box is actually an exact equation Lockheed Martin engineers had to solve for a real-world satellite mission. The first stop for the box was Virginia Tech, where the winners got inside to see a 360-degree kaleidoscopic ode to the stars and a grand prize of a possible job at Lockheed Martin.
It’s the latest project from McCann that creatively illustrates Lockheed’s work and ambitions in space. In 2016, the company developed the award-winning “Field Trip to Mars,” a group VR experience that took kids on a virtual tour of Mars by outfitting cutting-edge tech to a school bus that made the view out the windows look and feel like the Martian landscape.
Following Virginia Tech, the “Think Inside the Box” challenge will travel to other top engineering universities and recruiting events across the country with new challenges and prizes.