360-Degree Interactive Space Station Tour Lets You Float

Three-hundred-and-sixty degree videos are rampant online. And while many aren’t worth their space in the cloud, some are pretty dang cool. A new 360-degree video from European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, however, may be one of the coolest. It features a 360-degree tour of the International Space Station, which kind of makes it feel like you’re floating.

The European Space Agency recently posted Pesquet’s 360-degree ISS video to YouTube. For those unfamiliar, Pesquet, a French astronaut who’s been on two missions to the ISS, has developed an enormous following online. Pesquet has 1.3 million followers on Twitter thanks to his wowing people time and again with images and videos of Earth from space. Definitely well deserved. We feel thankful for all his sharing.

An astronaut floats through the International Space Station giving a 360-degree tour.

In this 360-degree video of the ISS Pesquet gives a brief tour of the Columbus module of the space station. The module houses a science laboratory replete with tools for studying everything from how the Sun behaves to the effects of the warping of the fabric of spacetime. Although, unfortunately, to the untrained eye the laboratory looks like a massive entanglement of wires and metal boxes. (Or maybe Bender’s gullet?)

Even though it’s hard to know what’s what, the video’s still stellar. Perhaps even cooler than NASA’s tour of the space station’s bathroom. The video’s POV makes viewers feel like they’re floating in free fall along with the ISS, and the whole thing has a very 2001: A Space Odyssey quality to it. But in a non-creepy way. The coolest part of a 360-degree video is that you can actually interact with your environment. Just press down and move the cursor and you can look all around you. Even while the video plays.

“I think it’s important to share [videos and images] because I think we are a public service. We have a responsibility to do things for the people and…inform people of what we’re doing,” Pesquet said in an interview (above). “We live in a fantastic time where you can watch things on the internet and follow missions as closely as possible. So I really enjoy sharing [videos and images] with everybody.”

A great sentiment. Happy space touring to all.

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