'Rich Kids in Space' Inevitable as NASA Introduces Space Selfie and Virtual Reality Exoplanet Exploration Apps

Thursday, 23 August 2018 - 9:36AM
Space
Virtual Reality
Thursday, 23 August 2018 - 9:36AM
'Rich Kids in Space' Inevitable as NASA Introduces Space Selfie and Virtual Reality Exoplanet Exploration Apps
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Image Credit: Outer Places, taken with NASA Selfies
Let's face it: most of us will never get the opportunity to go to space. Space tourism is on the way in the near future, but unless your bank account looks like Harry Potter's vault at Gringotts, you won't be joining Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic's inaugural launch or the dozens that follow. NASA has just introduced two projects that may fill the void of not being able to physically enter the abyss of space, and you won't have to put on a spacesuit or even leave your home to enjoy the experience.

In a new blog post, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced the launch of two new apps, one for Android and iOS devices, and the other for the Oculus and Vive VR headsets. The first is the NASA Selfies app, and it is exactly what the name suggests. Created for the 15th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the new NASA Selfies app allows users to see themselves (or their pets) as astronauts floating in space with backdrops like the center of the Milky Way, the Trifid Nebula, and Cassiopeia A. It's basically like the photoshoots we all took when Apple introduced Photo Booth on macOS, but with images taken by Spitzer. The selfies you create can of course be saved and shared to the social media platform of your choice.


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech 

The second newly introduced project, NASA's Exoplanet Excursions, allows users to explore TRAPPIST-1 in virtual reality. TRAPPIST-1, according to the Spritzer mission page, is the only known exoplanet system that contains seven Earth-like worlds. With the VR app, users will be taken on a guided tour of the system. "This experience is based on the best current understanding of what these worlds could be like given their sizes, densities, and proximity to their star," the developers wrote in a statement. "While the planetary images are artistic extrapolations, the relative sizes and positions are all portrayed accurately." If you don't have a VR headset, you can still check the app out via the YouTube 360 video below, but the immersive experience is probably better with the right equipment.

Science
NASA
Space
Virtual Reality
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