ESA panoramas allow a virtual tour of the ISS
ESA has released an interactive panorama that allows the earthbound to take in the interior of theInternational Space Station (ISS). This first offering allowsusers to pan around and explore the Columbus spacelaboratory, which is the agency's single biggest contribution to the ISS and became a permanent fixture in 2008 afterbeing delivered by the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
The ISS stands asmankind's most distant outpost, and a testament to its thirst forscientific knowledge. Yet, despite its importance, only a chosen fewwill have the privilege of seeing it in person. ESA hopes toremedy this by eventually imagining each of the station'smodules and allowing anyone with a computer to take a virtual tourof the marvel of modern engineering and technology. While the images are unable to convey any sense of weightlessness, they do give an idea of the cramped conditions aboard the ISS.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is responsible for the images of the Columbus module, which boasts 75 cubic metres (2,649 cu ft) of space and contains an entire suite of research equipment. Roughly 14 fisheye photos were stitched together to form each section of the station. Having spent 199 days in orbit, Cristoforetti is due to return toEarth today in a Soyuz spacecraft with NASA astronautTerry Virts and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
The interactive panorama isavailable via the source link below.