This week’s SpaceCom expo at the prettied-up George R. Brown Convention Center included a preview of some more down-to-earth plans for the immediate neighborhood — including the NASA-themed drop tower Mars mission ride to be installed for Super Bowl visitors at Discovery Green across the street. The ride, called Future Flight, will include virtual reality goggles; the rest of the setup will include a chance to try out the goggles for people who like virtual reality but don’t want to take the plunge, as well as some exhibits of next-gen space hardware and some kid-geared activities.
The ride’ll be free — if you can get a spot. Chris Baldwin points out that about a million people are expected to show up at the pre-Super Bowl festival planned for the week before the game, but timeslots on the ride will be limited to a few thousand per day between January 28 and February 5 (and the details on how to get a spot aren’t out yet).
The burnt-orange scaffolding of the drop tower roughly matches the color scheme for the latest long-haul rocket setup NASA is working on:
Riders might get a good view of the Texas-shaped island on the roof of the nearby Marriott Marquis, if not for the virtual reality goggles in the way:
Instead, they’ll see “a time warp race back to Earth”, including a plunge into the the Gulf of Mexico, a Houston flyover, and a landing “through the open roof of NRG Stadium to get to the 50 yard line of the Super Bowl just in time for the big game,” according to Duncan Kennedy, a VP at the Florida-based company that helped develop the ride.
- Houston’s Super Bowl Brings a Virtual Reality Rocket Ship Thrill Ride to Discovery Green — and It’s Free: Who Needs AstroWorld? [PaperCity]
- NASA-inspired ‘Future Flight’ Ride to ‘Drop’ Super Bowl Fans on Journey to Mars [CollectSpace.com]