Google Street View docks at the International Space Station


The Cupola Observation Module aboard the ISS, as seen through Google's Outer Space View

The Cupola Observation Module aboard the ISS, as seen through Google’s Outer Space View

Google Street View can take you to the some of the most remote regions of our planet, but the developers of the first-person mapping service see no reason to stop there. Starting today, you can use the tool to explore the International Space Station (ISS), the first time Street View has ventured beyond the Earth’s surface.

The feature is called Outer Space View and was built with the help of European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet as he lived aboard the ISS for six months this year. Being an orbiting space laboratory, this wasn’t done through Google’s usual Street View capture methods.

Instead Google worked with NASA to come up with a way of capturing the Street View images in zero-gravity using DSLR cameras and gear already aboard the station. Pesquet then went about collecting the photos and sent them down to Earth to be stitched into 360 degree panoramas.

Another way Outer Space View is different to regular Street View is that it incorporates annotations, which present as little blue dots that can be clicked on to bring up descriptions of different ISS components. These describe things like toilets, research modules, dining tables and currently docked spacecraft, along with other interesting bits and pieces.

You can climb aboard the International Space Station (with the help of Google Street View) here, while the video below features Pesquet describing the project.

Source: Google