Sometime between your marine biologist and professional ninja phases, you probably dreamed of being an astronaut as a kid. But have you seen all the work that goes into actually becoming one? Save yourself years of G-force training and wearing onesies and just shortcut your way onto the International Space Station, which became available for tour through Google Maps’ Street View today.
During a six-month tour of duty as a flight engineer on the space station, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet was enlisted by Google to capture the panoramic images of the ISS’ interior needed to add it to Street View. This is typically an automated process using a giant multi-camera rig on top of a car, or a clunky backpack. But all of that hardware is just too heavy and expensive to blast into space.
Over the 16 years, humans have been inhabiting the space station, various space agencies have built up an impressive camera collection floating 250 miles above the earth. So Pesquet instead used those DSLRs and other equipment already on the station to document the 15 different modules that make up the station. Those images were beamed down to the Google Maps team who stitched them all together to create this virtual tour you can take without the disorienting effects of zero gravity.