July 20, 2017
Planning a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) anytime soon? Now you can look up your destination ahead of time on Google’s near-omniscient Maps feature, just as you can for practically anywhere else on Earth. Google Maps has just added the ISS.
Using the kinda poorly named “Street View” function, users can take a virtual walk through 17 different sections of the space station. And yes, astronauts helped capture the 360-degree panoramas needed. Interestingly, some of the locations featured offer pop-up descriptions of what users are seeing in the station — this is the first time Google has offered this tool, but it definitely makes sense in this instance, since any user scoping out the ISS is certainly there to learn more about the virtual environment.
Google’s 360-Degree Tour Beats Everyone Else’s
This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to replicate all 360 degrees of locations from beyond our Earth’s atmosphere, the BBC reports:
“In 2015,” the network explains, “the European Space Agency published its own interactive tour of the ISS. And last year Nasa repurposed images captured by its Pathfinder mission to Mars to create clips suitable for virtual reality headsets.”
The astronauts captured the images using a rig of 24 different cameras, and the process took four months.
“There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery,” astronaut Thomas Pesquet noted in a blog. “Oh, and there’s that whole zero gravity thing.”
Google has the platform to take these images of the International Space Station to far more eyeballs than anyone else. As with many other industries and ideas that the massive company has dipped a toe into, Google wins simply by being larger than anyone else.
Check out the ISS on Google maps through this link. But if you’re scared of heights, don’t look out a window.
Read more about what Google is up to on TechCo
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