It's the first “zero-gravity” Google Street View experience.
Yesterday we celebrated National Space Exploration Day with yummy out-of-this-world cupcakes, and today there is even more to celebrate. Google has announced that you will now be able to get a closer look at the International Space Station with its Street View function. Now, all 15 modules of the ISS are available to step inside with the new feature.
Google thought up the idea, and in collaboration with different organizations like NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and astronaut Thomas Pesquet, the idea came to fruition about a year later. “Our hope is that by enabling people to virtually visit the International Space station—people around the world will gain a deeper appreciation for exploration beyond our planet,” Google Maps spokesperson Mara Harris told Real Simple.
The space station has been home to astronauts from around the world since 2000. One of the most recent residents, who only returned to Earth last month, Thomas Pesquet, was integral in gathering the images that we can now all explore.
“Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn’t possible to collect Street View using Google’s usual methods,” Pesquet says in a blog post. “Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS.”
When viewing each module, you’ll also be able to read annotations about what you’re looking at. According to Google, as you walk through the modules (virtually) you’ll get insight into where astronauts work out, what kind of food they eat, and where their scientific experiments are conducted.
So, what now? “We’d love to go to Mars next!” Harris said.