I downloaded this a few weeks back and finally gave it a go. If you are a regular reader then you are probably aware that this sort of thing is very much my cup of tea – I love space exploration, astronomy and VR. So I am happy to report that I loved the VR Apollo 11 experience.
There are some interactive elements – such as docking (fairly easy) and landing (fairly impossible) – but this is essentially a documentary experience. The makers went to a lot of effort to make the experience as accurate as possible and they did a superb job. For example, the landscape you see during the landing sequence is the real photo mosaic NASA created and used to train the astronauts. Obviously, you don’t experience things like the G-force of take-off (get someone to sit on you), or the terror, but when you leave the atmosphere and can look out of the window at Earth, it is pretty amazing. I also learned some things I didn’t know about how the Apollo modules worked which was pretty cool.
The company that made this experience is called Immersive VR Education and if you click on the link you can see a lot more information. I did the VR Apollo 11 Experience on a PS4 but it is also on Oculus and Vive and so on. If you are interested in space and VR I highly recommend it. Here is a trailer which will give you a vague idea – just without the VR.
Recently, Elon Musk talked about going to Mars. He wants humanity to be a multi-planetary species, so that we should survive a disaster. (Hopefully some other animals too – I want a genetically adapted giant space dog I can write around.) The rationale is that at some point, something awful may/will happen and it would be a shame for civilisation to be wiped out when we have gone to so much sodding effort for millennia. Which I think is a valid point. I get the argument that we have messed up the Earth but I will only accept that argument from someone who hasn’t bred. If you have kiddywinks, look to the future. Also, most of the people I see arguing that climate change is real, the need for renewable energy, and generally being less dickish to the planet, tend to be the same ones that want to go into space. Leave the frackers behind.
I think Musk is a good guy and at time of writing, hasn’t shown any hints of: “You will kneel before Musk” agenda. So you can imagine how excited I was when he was talking about Martian colonization plans that will become possible thanks to his “Mars Colonial Transporter”. There is even a video clip showing how it will be done:
You can then imagine how that excitement rose further still when he renamed the Mars trip equipment stuff to the even more exciting: “Interplanetary Transport System”. The only possible conclusion being that he wants to go to more than just Mars.
Sadly for the “tl;dr” crowd there isn’t a video of future space exploration but as a placatory extra, Elon ‘Stark’ Musk and his gang have released a load of pretty pictures on the interweb. There are quite a few to be found on the SpaceX Flickr account and here are a couple. Enjoy and engage!
As the Earth seems to be getting progressively more shite, it is worth remembering that we humans are capable of doing pretty incredible things. If we try and think beyond the petty here and now, and set our sights on knowledge, exploration and becoming a greater species I am convinced things could improve. With intolerance on the rise – religious and secular – we should try and better ourselves, not squabble and fight over imaginary beings or who should be allowed into “our” little patch of Earth. When you see our planet from space, the arguing and hatred seems so pointless.
Obviously nothing will change as too many humans are dicks. Happily, not all.
Here is an amazing video made by a talented fellow called Santiago Menghini. It is a tribute to NASA’s Voyager space program and combines real footage, recorded sounds, Voyager images, animation and more, into a very cool little film. Brilliant and truly inspiring. Cheered me right up, it did. Enjoy.
Pub creates Peake portrait out of a roast dinner. For some reason.
Here at the Word of Ward we are unanimous in our support of space exploration, ESA, NASA and the brave people who go into space in the quest for knowledge. If you think space exploration is a waste of time, you have my sympathy for being a small minded individual who only thinks of the current generation. (I’m kidding – I think you’re an idiot.)
Before I slide happily into a rant, I will return to my main purpose which is to welcome back Tim Peake to terra firma and to say thanks for all he has done in the name of science and human endeavour.
My other main purpose is to point out to anyone from ESA or NASA that might read this, that I am fully available and willing to go into space as a member of Joe Public. It would be good PR. Just saying. Here is a video of Tim Peake’s highlights from the BBC:
(Feel free to skip my rant and just see the clip at the bottom. I apologise in advance.)
Space X doing their thing
I’m not going to tiptoe around this – we should go into space and anyone who disagrees is either a short sighted idiot or a massively, colossally selfish individual who only cares about themselves and the next generation or two. (Unless you hope for some kind of apocalypse – which is a dumb plan – what do you think the world you great grandkids will live in?) They are also putting a downer on one of the few amazing and inspiring things about humans – our sense of wonder and exploration.
Governments are now mostly blowing all our money on war and bailing out bankers, so it is more of a moot point. Thankfully forward looking entrepreneurs are stepping in and financing space exploration, so if you think more should be spent on healthcare – and it should – go shout at a politician. There was a great quote from Professor Brian Cox saying that the British Government spent more money bailing out the bankers than they have on science since Jesus. Which is pretty depressing.
What is great about space exploration these days is that there are big organisations and nations working together (like NASA and ESA), and these huge players are teaming up with private companies like Space X and Virgin Galactic, who are using cutting edge tech to really push the boundaries at an incredible rate. All this is my rather long winded way of saying how amazing it is that Space X has gone from a rocket that can hop a little bit, to a rocket that can deliver stuff to the Space Station and then land on a sodding barge at sea. All in 4 years.
I’m inspired and excited by shit like this and if you aren’t, I feel a bit sorry for you. If anyone from NASA/ESA/Space X/Virgin Glactic reads this and you want someone to go into space and write about it – firstname.lastname@example.org is my address.
Voyager has officially left the solar system. NASA said so and they seem pretty certain about it.
Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977, 36 years ago. I was 5 years old and it has remained an awe inspiring achievement throughout my life. It’s one of those things that humanity occasionally does that makes me feel proud of it. Good work humanity. The ability to look outward and the desire to explore and learn is a trait that should be encouraged. Sadly this trait was soon after rejected because we need more money for wars and bailing out banks and so forth.
I’m going to try not to rant about this but to put things in perspective, the UK spends £4.6 billion a year on science. That’s ALL science. The bank bailout is expected to cost the country over a TRILLION pounds since 2007. Just the bailout of RBS cost the taxpayer £46 billion. So when someone whinges about space exploration costing too much money, they are talking bollocks. Anyway, Branson is going to do it now, so the government and the whingebags can piss off.
Back to Voyager. The mission took some brilliant photos of Jupiter and Saturn and their associated moons. Our knowledge base has grown massively. It single handedly inspired the opening sequence to Star Trek Voyager when it flies through the rings of Saturn (probably). Speaking of Star Trek – there is also the possibility that Voyager will return and be super-intellgent thanks to some sentient machines it may meet in the far future, like in Star Trek the Motion picture. These are just a few perks in addition to the knowledge and pictures.
Voyager returns in Star Trek 1 movie.
One curious thing that I have personally discovered, is that Voyager has discovered sounds in space. I think. They are waves emanating from the sun and are recorded and sound like a noise. Another thing that I discovered is that the sound of space is pretty damned terrifying! Imagine the sound-track to a ‘space horror’ movie mixed with the sounds used in a scifi show to show ‘advanced aliens are up to something’ and that’s the sound. Downright eerie! (You can hear it below.)
I just wanted to say good work Voyager 1 (and 2) and all those involved in the project. I look forward to being a head in a jar in 40,000 years’ time when it makes it through the black bit between stars.
Here’s a short 2 minute with the terrifying sounds of space. Sail on!
All the space exploration stuff I dreamt of as a kid are finally coming true. I now just need longevity drugs so I can actually get out there. In particular I want to be around when they find the first weird alien artifacts that unleash an unspeakable evil and need myself and an elite team to to find out why none of the miners are responding. It’s going to be great.
The Firefly concept
This fanciful dreaming has been inspired by the science-fiction-sounding Deep Space Industries. To increase this scifi feeling the exploratory modules are called Firefly. I don’t know if they are fans of the show but I suspect space scientists/engineers probably are, as all intelligent people like science fiction (that’s a fact). The Firefly modules will act like scouts and will be out there by 2015. Probably. This new space expansion is unlikely to really get going until the 2020s at the earliest. I’ll be almost 50 in 2020 which is why I need the longevity drugs. There are a lot of ifs in my mental scenarios but I’m an optimist.
A Fuel Harvester
In addition to these modules Deep Space Industries have all sorts of incredible vessels planned. Harvesters and miners and processors and habitats. And it’s all real!!! Well, soon will be. Probably.
I really hope DSI makes this happen. I’m fed up with being disappointed by humanity when it comes to space exploration. Whenever anyone says something like ‘we should spend all the money on hospitals or something’ it makes me want to cry. Sure that would make things a bit better right now but it’s so short sighted. If we keep everyone healthy, old, but stuck on this planet you are essentially dooming future generations to overcrowding, disease, and mass starvation. You are essentially thinking purely of yourself. Prick.
Anyway. As I said this will hopefully be about to change. This time it looks more hopeful than ever. Call me cynical but this time there is a factor that might help us reach for the stars: mankind’s innate greed. There’s a shitload of gold and valuable goodies out there, locked away in asteroids. I read somewhere that some asteroids near us contain enough gold to change the price of gold on our planet permanently. It may now be financially viable to get our grubby paws on the stuff.
Here are two brilliant pictures straight from a movie. These are followed by a clip that could be directed by Paul Verhoeven but isn’t. It even has scifi writing fonts and everything.
More space harvester action
Space habitat. I soooo want to live here.
I want to work for this company. Even if it is in the video making department.
For more info see their site. I got all the pictures from there and there are more. Go Deep Space Industries! If you read this can I have a job? http://deepspaceindustries.com/