One thing has baffled astronauts ever since the first went to space. No, it’s not the Moon, it’s not the stars, and it’s not even the Sun. It’s the Earth. Specifically, how the Earth is seen from space. Now, SpaceVR will give us an astronaut’s view of Earth, with its plan to install a virtual reality camera onboard the ISS.
As the promotional video says, the little free time that the astronauts have high up in orbit on the International Space Station is usually occupied by them sitting in the cupola module of the station, the place where you can view the Earth from.
The module was especially designed for this, and the nice people from SpaceVR want to give us a taste of how it’s like to stand there, so high above the planet. As the astronauts will testify, it’s a humbling, life changing experience, as the Earth rapidly goes from being huge, to much smaller, taking up only a portion of the starry sky.
From the first journey to space, just 536 people have ever seen the Earth from above. To help everyone else experience this, SpaceVR have created a 360 degrees virtual reality camera, and a Kickstarter project to provide the money needed to send it to space as payload, and also keep the whole company going for one year. For this, they are asking for $500,000 in 30 days.
The company envisions that it will offer the virtual reality service as a subscription that could probably go for just 10 dollars a month. This is relatively cheap, considering the amount of work that is going into the project. Their plan is to work with NanoRacks, a company responsible for sending payloads to the ISS, and launch the Overview One device with a rocket scheduled for December.
Once on the ISS, Overview One will be mounted by the astronauts there with an especially designed 3D printed socket that they will be able to manufacture right there. The camera could also be carried around during spacewalks, or even show 4th of July fireworks form above, which are spectacular to say the least.
The first goal of the SpaceVR team is to send a stream from space by the first quarter of 2016, the next goal is for their virtual reality camera to piggyback a ride to Mars in 2026. Ryan Holmes, the CEO of SpaceVR, says that through this project, everybody who’s ever dreamed of being an astronaut can achieve at least a small part of this dream.
Image source: squarespace.com