Want to Leave This Planet? NASA Is Offering Some Seriously Cool Virtual Space Tours Right Now (Video)
The aerospace experts are pulling out all the stops to help everyone pass the time home socially distancing. That includes releasing some seriously cool virtual tours and highlighting a few of its coolest places. Check out a selection of seven tours available from NASA below.
Go for Flight
In 2018, NASA launched its Go for Flight simulator, which allows anyone to tour its Armstrong Flight Research Center. Thanks to Google Expeditions, digital visitors can tour an aircraft hangar, the control room, and the back-ramp area where aircraft final preparations for flight begin.
Next Stop: The Stratosphere
Explore inside SOFIA, a Boeing 747SP aircraft NASA modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope up 45,000 feet. The tour, NASA explains, “enables users to view the exterior of the aircraft, and see the one-of-a-kind door covering the telescope cavity, which is opened in flight.”
During the virtual tour, guests can see Inside the aircraft’s main deck, the flying mission control center, and see where telescope operators, scientists, and mission directors control the telescope and view the stars, galaxies, and black holes in the great beyond.
Hubble Space Telescope mission operations center
Curious space explorers can take a 360-degree, virtual tour of the Hubble Space Telescope’s home for mission operations, the Space Telescope Operations Control Center (STOCC) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The tour includes visiting the lobby to learn about the spacecraft, the Mission Operations Room, the Operations Support Room, the exhibit hallway, and even a tour of the tools used by astronauts to repair the observatory.
NASA's Exoplanet Excursions
Want to really get out of this world? Hop on NASA’s guided journey through the TRAPPIST-1 star system, “known to be the home of 7 Earth-size exoplanets orbiting a star that is only a little larger than Jupiter.” The virtual experience includes a breakdown and tour of the telescope used to discover these far-off places that could hold the answer to the question, “are we alone in the universe?”
International Space Station
Step out of Earth’s atmosphere with NASA astronaut Suni Williams for a tour of her home away from home, the International Space Station. Watch Williams float through space and show you all the bells and whistles (and really cool science gear) on board this floating lab.
Exoplanet Travel Bureau
Since you can’t take an actual vacation right now you might as well go big with a virtual one by exploring 360-degree visualizations of other planets and stars. The tours come with plenty of cool new things to learn plus free downloadable posters you can print and hang up.
Langley Research Center
If you’re going to go deep on NASA this weekend you must take a virtual pitstop at the Langley Research Center, NASA's oldest field center. On the virtual tour, guests can check out the center’s wind tunnel, its integrated engineering building, the computational research facility, and much more.
Want more? Check out all of NASA’s virtual offerings here.