Discovery Green in Houston will not just be the venue for Super Bowl 51 on Sunday. It will also host NASA spaceships and will launch NFL fans to Mars. Also, Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot from NASA, can be seen mimicking the calls that a football referee would make during a game. Football fans can expect double the excitement when their favorite sporting event teams up with advanced robots and space tech.
‘Future Flight’ to Mars
A 64-foot-tall VR-enhanced amusement park was constructed near the 50-yard line of the football field. Called “Future Flight,” the ride will let visitors simulate the feeling of getting launched to the Mars. As the rider is propelled upwards, the narrator’s booming voice from the VR headset lets one believe that one is riding NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
The Orion Spacecraft is part of NASA’s Space Launch System. It is described as the most powerful rocket ever built by the space agency, as it can accelerate to a maximum speed of 24,000 mph. “You’re about to blow past humanity’s boundaries,” said the virtual guide headsets, Space reported. “Your destination: Mars.”
The top of the tower resembles a real launch pad, where the riders can “land” on Mars. It is painted the color of bright orange and white. Even though the riders cannot physically get down and roam around, they can explore the surface of Mars through their VR sets.
But since the Big Game is set to start soon after the fans are launched into space, it is important that they “return” to earth pronto. Hence, the Future Flight brings the fans downwards to make a touchdown on the 50-yard line. “Your Mars training mission has been accomplished and it is game time! EM-51, Houston, welcome home,” the narrator will say.
Other NASA Attractions at Super Bowl
As out-of-the-world as the ride maybe, it is not the only NASA Super Bowl attraction. A video, showing a humanoid robot displaying NFL referee skills, was unveiled as well. Viewers are invited to guess the 10 referee calls that are mimicked bodily by the robot, Space reported. Some of the easiest ones include touchdown and flag penalty.
Also, Space Exploration Vehicle, or SEV, was transported to Discovery Green from the Johnson Space Center on Monday. It was carried by a trailer to its destination where it will be on display. SEV is part of the “new generation of raving space,” Khou reported. It is intended to get more aspiring astronauts get interested in NASA’s space program.