National Geographic debuted the first-ever 3D virtual-reality video filmed in space, putting viewers in the shoes—or suits—of astronauts inside and outside the International Space Station. The footage was captured by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli as part of the filming for Nat Geo’s docuseries One Strange Rock about life on Earth.
Through a partnership with Humaneyes Technologies, he attached a Vuze VR Camera to his head, strapped a laptop computer to his back as a power source, and zoomed around the space station “documenting what he calls the Spider-Man factor afforded by microgravity,” according to Nat Geo.
“I still remember the Russians looking at me puzzled, like, what the hell happened to Paolo? Did he smoke something? Because they saw me flying with this camera up on my head,” he says.
But he feels he owes it to humanity to participate in such experiments.
“I wanted to get this, to show what it means to fly through the station and be continuously changing orientation,” he says. “You don’t walk anymore with your feet on the floor, and when it’s more convenient to walk on the ceiling, you walk on the ceiling. More convenient to walk on the side, you walk on the side.”
The immersive video evokes a dizzying sensation as a voiceover talks about the changing perceptions of time while peering out at “four and a half billion years of history, patiently, silently, almost eternally floating next to you,” and staring down at the Earth from a perspective of “something human eyes are not supposed to see … the view from heaven.”
READ MORE: National Geographic