Take A Trip To Mars…On A School Bus

Jul 21, 2016 at 1:04 PM ET

The Magic School Bus is not just a cartoon or a hallucinogenic vision anymore. Engineers transformed a regular school bus into a virtual reality field trip to Mars. The windows were swapped out with 4K transparent displays, making the entire bus a set of yellow VR goggles on wheels. So as the bus moves along in the real world, landscapes of Mars (presumably including Matt Damon and his potato poop farm) roll past the windows.

Confused? The creators created a digital streetmap of Washington DC’s street layout, and then mapped that in turn onto a virtual surface of the red planet. Wherever the bus went in DC, the screens show a corresponding scene from Mars outside. DC was presumably chosen for the project because its lack of atmosphere made it a nice analog for Mars.

There are even speakers throughout the bus to mimic sounds you may hear on the Red Planet, like sandstorms, or Matt Damon begging for a Golden Globe, and howls of laughter from Earth when he gets one for Best Comedy/Musical.