All the fun of being an astronaut, minus the nauseating trip up to space.
At some point I feel as though everyone dreams of being an astronaut. So it’s only natural that we obsess over the mysterious dark void we find ourselves drifting through on an enormous, rotating ball. Unfortunately for most of us, the standards for becoming an astronaut are unbelievably rigid and the competition is beyond fierce. After all, only about 500 people across the world have ever been to space, making it one of the rarest jobs on the planet.
Well thanks to a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, us average Joe’s and Jane’s will finally get the chance to venture into the great beyond and pee our collective space suits in awe.
Currently available for download on the Oculus Store for the low, low price of $0.00, Mission:ISS is a scientifically accurate space simulation that lets players explore the infamous International Space Station in full virtual reality.
Based on NASA Space Station models and the input of actual astronauts as well as the VR Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the simulation features an extensive level of detail that undoubtedly pushes the Oculus Rift to its limits. Using the Oculus Touch controllers, players can dock incoming cargo capsules, conduct spacewalks, and perform mission-critical tasks with a level of realism usually reserved for astronauts in training.
Designed by the Academy Award-winning team over at Magnopus, the out-of-this-world experience also features several educational elements. Users can interactive with informative videos that not only detail the history of the ISS, but tell the stories of several accomplished astronauts as well. Oculus is also spearheading a pilot program dedicated to getting Mission: ISS into the hands of high school students across the United States.
It’s an admirable contribution that will hopefully help excite an entirely new generation about space. However it’s important to remember that us Earth-bound folk can’t be hogging all the virtual reality fun for ourselves, which is why Oculus partnered with CNES, the French Space Agency, to send an Oculus Rift headset to the ISS! In a world (or out-of-this-world) first, European astronaut Thomas Pesquet will use a Rift to test the effects of zero-gravity on human spatial awareness as well as balance using software developed by the space agencies.
You can check out the YouTube video at the top of the page for a good showcasing of the simulation, but for a more in-depth look definitely check out this 360-degree Facebook video instead. Mission: ISS is currently available for download free over at the Oculus Store.