March 8, 2021

Travel to space without moving from home | Technology

The technologies of the image allow to reach space without moving from home. A free virtual reality program available on Oculus and an interactive walk of the European Space Agency (ESA) facilitate a tour of the International Space Station (ISS, for its acronym in English) in the first person. They are two of the opportune educational offers in these days that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the arrival of man on the Moon. Only 500 people have traveled to space and these visual techniques allow us to approach that experience and feel like them.

The virtual tour that offers the ESA it has been possible to realize thanks to the images captured by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti before leaving the International Space Station after staying in the modules for 199 days.

With the 15 photographs from all corners, an interactive panorama has been created that allows us to go through the ISS in its configuration until June 2015, after moving the storage module Leonardo to a new location.

The program allows you to explore the modules and zoom in on any corner to see details. An intuitive panel of commands allows to activate different devices and to cross the station at will of the user. The game icons allow you to see an astronaut explain or demonstrate how an element works. There is also complementary information in the Internet links.

Interior of the ISS Columbus module, where the virtual tour starts.

Interior of the ISS Columbus module, where the virtual tour starts.

The tour was improved in Vienna with the help of Thomas Rauscher, who assembled the images to achieve the sensation of an immersive and linear journey.

On the other hand, Oculus has offered for free a virtual reality program called Mission: ISS. The game is available for Rift and Touch and has been created with the collaboration of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The simulation also allows you to explore the International Space Station and feel in space.

For the development of the game has been provided with the models provided by the space agencies, as well as with the information provided by the astronauts. The virtual reality program has been developed by the VR Lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

This program allows virtual hands to be used to attach incoming cargo capsules, perform spacewalks and perform critical mission tasks as well as see the Earth from orbit.

The design has been carried out by the Academy Award-winning team at Magnopus, based in Los Angeles, and includes information on the history of the station and listening to several astronauts.

Oculus will also send a virtual reality helmet, in collaboration with the French Space Agency, for the European astronaut Thomas Pesquet to use it in order to test the effects of zero gravity on consciousness and balance thanks to a program developed by the space agencies.

For the mobile

A mobile application produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Google for educational purposes offers users virtual visits to the destinations of the main explorers of the US space agency. The application, called Spacecraft AR, uses the native mobile augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows you to interact from a phone with 3D images.

Travel to space without moving from home

The initial version of the application works with Android devices compatible with ARCore, but the plans are to increase the compatibility of other devices and add to those with Apple operating systems (iOS).

"The AR application of Spacecraft it's a new and exciting way to get up close and personal with NASA's robotic missions, "said Kevin Hussey, JPL visualization team manager, who developed the new application with Google.

The user can choose the spacecraft and, once the application detects a flat surface, users simply touch the screen to place the spacecraft on the scene. They can take and share photos directly from the application and view detailed information about each mission. And for those who use the application in spaces large enough, there is even a button to see the spacecraft in its real size. The application includes the Curiosity Mars rover from NASA, Juno, Cassini Y Voyager.

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