NASA recently announced that they will be opening the International Space Station (ISS) for tourism and while this is exciting and lays the groundwork for space exploration and expansion in the future, this opportunity is not exactly available to all in its current state - it comes with a pretty steep price tag of $58 million ($35,000 per night). Sorry to say it, but more than likely no one reading this post will be visiting the ISS any time soon.
That said, a more affordable (often less than $100) Virtual Reality alternative is gaining accessibility and popularity for those eager to experience the ISS and the cosmos. Virtual Reality (VR) has been constantly improving since it was first introduced and the technology is bridging into different industries year after year. It has many many practical uses like in medicine/therapy and e-commerce, in addition to its huge presence in the video gaming industry - VR continues to find innovative ways to give users firsthand insight into new experiences.
Space exploration through virtual reality is an incredible experience and opportunity - it’s also (most likely) the closest the majority of us will get to space travel. Many games and apps are appearing on the market that allow users to explore the cosmos. Overview, for example, is a VR experience that is so precise with its location targeting, you can see the planets, stars and nearby solar systems in their exact coordinates. United States based company, Questledge, has been working diligently for years create a VR experience that allows the user to see the Apollo 11 mission firsthand.
In addition to its value on the consumer market, innovations in VR are rapidly changing the space, aerospace, and defense industries (as well as many other commercial industries). Learning new skills and tools, practicing experiences, learning new environments, and a wide variety of other training exercises have been forever changed - not to mention things have gotten a whole lot safer as individuals get many opportunities to practice through VR. Astronauts-to-be are getting to learn everything they need to know about doing their first space walk without ever needing to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.
II-VI Marlow is excited to see VR technology continue to grow and improve how we teach skills, conduct research, and inspire the next generation of space exploration.
Do you have a question about VR and its impact on space exploration? Feel free to reach out to our experts.