If you’ve ever wanted to go to space but can’t quite afford a ride just yet, Google has done the next best thing. They’ve created Street View for the International Space Station (ISS), letting you explore space from the comfort of your own home.
The project was done using images taken by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet earlier in 2017. He returned to Earth in June 2017, and now his images are available for all to explore the ISS.
“In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space,” he wrote in a blog post.
“Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space.”
Outer Space View lets you move around the various modules of the ISS, with clickable areas of interest giving you more information.
Click and drag to explore the ISS
For example, you can explore the crew quarters where the astronauts sleep, take a look at the space suits in the airlock ready for spacewalks, and also take a look at the kitchen area.
Perhaps best of all, you can look out the window of the ESA-built Cupola module. Here, seven windows afford astronauts a glorious view of Earth. Understandably, this is where a lot of the astronauts spend their free time.
For Earth-based Street View, Google usually uses a specialized camera to capture a 360-degree view. For obvious reasons that wasn’t possible on the ISS, so this project was completed by stitching together Pesquet’s images to create full panoramas.
“We did a lot of troubleshooting before collecting the final imagery that you see today in Street View,” he said. “There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery, so we had to be confident that our approach would work. Oh, and there’s that whole zero gravity thing.”
So, while you’re patiently waiting for your ride to space, why not brush up on your knowledge of the ISS from the comfortable confines of Earth’s surface.