And the award for most impressive 360-degree live stream of an unmanned interplanetary spacecraft goes to…
20 years ago, The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched the Cassini orbiter into space. By 2004, the revolutionary spacecraft was in orbit around Saturn, providing researchers back on Earth with the first comprehensive data of the planet, its rings, and its moons ever collected.
For the next 13 years, Cassini would continue to discover radical new information that would directly impact NASA’s exploration of space in the future.
By 2017, however, the crafts fuel tanks were nearly depleted, and the team at NASA prepared to conduct one final mission: a captivating leap of faith directly into the skies of Saturn. The operation, while a somber occasion for many of the team members who had become attached to the device during its 20-year mission, was an unmitigated success, delivering a rich amount of information back to central command that would prove useful for years to come.
Thanks to an incredible digital marketing campaign conducted over several months, fans had the opportunity to follow Cassini’s progress every step of the way with nearly daily updates directly from NASA themselves. The multiplatform program included gorgeous 3D renders visualized with the help of data collected by Cassini, interactive press kits, a massive social media takeover, an educational curriculum integrated into thousands of classrooms, and stunning 360-degree videos.
The most impressive offering by far, however, was an hour and half 360-degree live stream of the operation directly from NASA’s own mission control room. A first for the agency, the live stream provided a variety of alternating angles of the impressive facility as NASA personnel worked tirelessly to ensure Cassini’s final run was a flawless one. Produced by Radiant Images, the live feed featured picture-in-picture video of various NASA news reports, statistics, and other real-time mission data displayed in alternating locations, providing a continuous flow of content to keep viewers entertained and informed during the lengthy undertaking.
The next level 360-degree live stream and digital campaign were so impressive, in fact, that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has officially been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program.
The 360 live stream was developed as part of Youtube and VRScout’s 2017 Creator Lab program, an ongoing production and learning course dedicated specifically to VR creators.
The 2018 Emmy’s premiers September 17th on NBC. The Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, which includes the awards for interactive content, will take place September 15th at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
The Cassini-Huygens mission was conducted by NASA in cooperation with Radiant Images, the ESA (European Space Agency), and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s JPL was responsible for the development and assembly of the Cassini orbiter.
Image Credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Radiant Images