National Geographic brought a virtual reality presentation to Chicago on Friday that simulates what it is like to be an astronaut.
The travelling, one-day exhibit, “One Strange Rock: Space Projection Helmet,” uses VR technology to project images of space onto a replica astronaut helmet’s visor. It is making appearances at schools and museums around the country to promote National Geographic’s new show, “One Strange Rock.”
“‘One Strange Rock’ is an unprecedented television experience; we were inspired by the innovative storytelling, mesmerizing footage and the unique accounts of astronauts to create a specialized viewing mechanism that would elevate and emulate their first-hand experience,” Jill Cress, chief marketing and brand officer of National Geographic Partners, said in a statement. “The OSR Space Projection Helmet furthers National Geographic’s commitment to make science fun, entertaining, and accessible to new audiences.”
The experience was made with laser projection, custom fish-eye optics and built-in audio to differentiate it from consumer-level VR headsets, according to a press release. An extra-wide viewing angle allows for viewers to move their head around within the helmet to see space just as a real astronaut does, the release said.
Adler Planetarium hosted the projection helmet 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its Johnson Star Theater. Admission was free to the public on a first come, first served basis.
Here are photos from the helmets’ stop in New York City: