As the billionaire space race continues, it feels like the closest the rest of us mere mortals will ever get to space is one of those sensory deprivation tanks. But thanks to some fancy virtual realty (VR) technology, you can now see space for yourself. Well, kinda.
In Time’s new series Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, non-billionaires get a close-up look at what it’s like to visit the International Space Station (ISS). The series features real-life astronauts like David Saint-Jacques, Anne McClain, Nick Hague, Christina H. Koch, Jessica U. Meir, Luca Parmitano, Hazza Al Mansouri and Andrew “Drew” Morgan, who are all stationed on the ISS.
But in episodes 3 and 4, Time really ups the ante and shares an immersive way to experience what it’s like to float around in space.
Felix & Paul Studios — a Montreal-based company involved in the creation of the Time series — developed a custom VR camera to attach to the Canadarm2 robot (aka the robot arm on the outside of the ISS that fixes things) to capture 360-degree footage from outside the ISS.
Although the VR experience won’t allow you to feel the full weightlessness of space, unless you’ve got millions of dollars to throw at a trip to space onboard a SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic flight, it’s the next best thing.
The camera is a customised version of the Z-Cam V1 Pro that is already available on the market. It’s fitted with 4K sensors that shoot 360-degree images in stunning 8K resolution for the best possible picture.
“Capturing the Earth in stereoscopic 3D, 360-degree format from space, outside the space station, has never been attempted until now. It’s beyond exciting and surreal to see this happening, knowing that the dream for this ambitious project started over five years ago in 2015,” the series’ executive producer Johnathan Woods said.