Have you ever wanted to visit the International Space Station? Many people dream of going to space; few ever get the opportunity to fulfill that dream—until now. Although you may never experience the sensation of zero gravity, virtual reality makes it possible for everyone to visit the ISS, as of today.
Mission:ISS is a new interactive VR education experience for the Oculus Rift that uses Touch controllers and takes you to a “true-to-life simulation” of the International Space Station. Mission:ISS puts you in the shoes (and spacesuit) of an astronaut on the ISS and puts you to work doing things like receiving cargo capsules at the cargo dock. You also get to go on a space walk where you can see Earth in all its glory below you.
Mission:ISS was developed by Magnopus and published by Oculus. But it was actual space agencies that made the vision for Mission:ISS possible. Magnopus wanted to make Mission:ISS into an educational experience that schools could use to teach students about space and the history of the ISS. Oculus and Magnopus worked with NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency to recreate the ISS “in painstaking detail.” They also worked with real astronauts to ensure that the experience is authentic as possible.
Oculus is pushing the idea of education via Mission:ISS further than ensuring the content is historically, scientifically, and visually accurate. The company is running a limited-time beta program that will facilitate access to Mission:ISS for high school kids in the U.S. You don’t need to be in high school to get access to the experience, though; Mission:ISS is available for free (opens in new tab) to anyone who owns an Oculus Rift with Touch controllers.
Even so, the 500-or-so people that have physically been to the ISS still have a leg up on us “landlubbers.” Oculus is shipping a Rift to outer space so the astronauts can experiment with “the effects of zero-gravity on human spatial awareness and balance.” That sounds like a fancy line item to justify sending a gaming PC to the folks who volunteer to isolate themselves in a tin can for months on end if you ask me.