Take a narrated 3D tour of the International Space Station from your desk
Even though the International Space Station (ISS) has been in orbit around our planet since 1998, and has lapped our world 100,000 times, it's only held a total of 230 people in its tube-shaped pods. That means the rest of us have to find other ways to look inside the orbiting home and lab. The European Space Agency (ESA) has just obliged by making available an online video that takes you on a narrated tour of the ISS. Even better, it's in 3D.
Since launching at the end of the nineties, the ISS has been steadily expanded with several different modules from the main regions of the world involved with its development and upkeep: Russia, the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe. Most recently the station got a new inflatable habitat called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which will help NASA experiment with a possible solution for housing astronauts on a future mission to Mars. Although BEAM failed to deploy in its first attempt, it's now fully functional.
While the ESA video is not quite new enough to include BEAM, it does take you on a nice little 13-minute long journey through the rest of the station, using computer animations to orient you inside the structure – which measures about as big as an American football field – and actual footage that shows you how the astronauts aboard the ISS live and work. What's more, if you have a pair of 3D glasses lying around, you can watch it all pop off your computer screen a bit.