Lockheed Martin Offers Free Online Space Lessons, Virtual ‘Mars Experience' Bus

In the 1960s, kids flicked on the TV to watch astronauts walk on the moon.

Fifty years later, kids click on YouTube to be whisked away on a virtual field trip to Mars.

On Friday, Lockheed Martin launched "Generation Beyond," a first-of-its-kind, free national educational program to bring space exploration into homes and classrooms.

The highlights? Easy-to-access online curriculum for elementary and middle school teachers to simply download and use for free, and the "Lockheed Martin Mars Experience Bus," a short video that shows students starting off their field trip in a yellow school bus on earth and being transported by "magic" to the red, sweeping rocks of Mars.

There's also a cool Mars app that shows users where Mars is in the sky based on the GPS technology and the current weather on the red planet.

"We have 60,000 scientists that are part of our employee base," Lockheed spokesman Bill Phelps told NBC Bay Area on Monday. "The whole point is to get kids interested in science, math and technology, and lead them on a career path to Mars. Traveling to Mars is a lot closer than they think."

It was unclear Monday just how many teachers signed on to the free curriculum. The Generation Beyond program was announced Friday in Washington, D.C, at the opening ceremony of the Lockheed Martin-sponsored USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest—and only—national STEM event.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 126,000 people worldwide. Lockheed Martin has thousands of employees in Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. The Sunnyvale facility is part of the company's Space Systems division, which makes solar panels, including those that power the International Space Station.

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