Blast Off on a Virtual Space Vacation with the Intergalactic Travel Bureau – Space.com


Have you ever wanted to take a vacation in space, but don’t have the rockets or funds to make that happen? If so, the Intergalactic Travel Bureau has got you covered with a new virtual reality app. 


The mock travel agency created by the U.K.-based organization Guerilla Science is launching a new virtual reality app that allows anyone with a smartphone and a simple VR viewer to visit the moon, Mars, Europa and more! Guided tours of these space destinations feature imagery created from NASA data, so for most Earthlings, these tours are as close as they can possibly get to visiting these alien worlds.  


“This virtual reality app will finally make space vacations accessible to all,” Jana Grcevich, an astrophysicist who works at the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, said in a statement.


Before the free iOS and Android app becomes publicly available, the Intergalactic Travel Bureau (ITB) is asking for a little help from prospective space explorers. Yesterday, the group launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so it can make the app as out of this world as possible. 


“It takes a lot of time and care to reconstruct these other worlds, especially to make them look good,” the ITB wrote on its Kickstarter page. “We’re raising funds to finish our renderings, adding details to make them as beautiful as possible.”

A virtual reality rendition of the Mariner Valley on Mars.
Credit: Guerilla Science


The ITB has already started creating animated tours of Mars’ Mariner Valley, the Apollo landing sites on the moon and Jupiter’s biggest moon, Europa. But the group said it hopes to expand its list of destinations to include other planets and moons in the solar system, Olivia Koski, head of operations at Guerilla Science, told Space.com. 


To create these scientifically accurate virtual worlds, the app combines 3D models of the terrain with images to add texture. NASA provided the necessary materials, so it’s up to ITB’s graphic designers to process all that raw data to re-create the landscapes.

The Intergalactic Travel Bureau takes space explorers on a virtual reality adventure to Jupiter's moon Europa. Users can download a free smartphone app to embark on a journey through the solar system with any type of VR goggles. Cardboard VR goggles will be distributed to those users who donate $40 or more to the company's Kickstarter.
Credit: Guerilla Science


Aspiring space explorers can contribute as little as $5 to the Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise $25,000 by March 31. But the more you donate, the more cool stuff you’ll receive. Gifts include collectible postcards and stickers, a VR cardboard viewer, early access to the app (which is not yet available in the app store), and your name engraved on the virtual alien landscapes. For a generous donation of $10,000, the ITB will build you a virtual version of any space destination you please. 


Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Blast Off on a Virtual Space Vacation with the Intergalactic Travel Bureau – Space.com

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