I had quite a nice Christmas this year, I went to the moon, kick some moon dust with Buzz and Neil and came back in time for mum’s Christmas supper.
Alright, of course it was a VR experience simulation of Apollo 11 journey accompanying a virtual Buzz and Neil while I fill in the virtual shoes of Michael Collins on the Apollo/return capsule and then as Buzz Aldrin during the lander and moon walk segments.
Its a 90 minute VR simulation of the Apollo 11 Journey called appropriately enough:
Apollo 11 VR
available on Steam VR and Playstation VR.
Although, I have seen documentaries about this small step for man, I learnt a few more things from this experience as I tried landing and docking which I crashed every time, despite being a decent games player. Man, they really did have the right stuff, considering the hair raising manual controlling involved in this mission. These interactive parts of the experience is optional btw, I can if I want just relax and let Collins/Buzz/Armstrong do the navigating on the various modules which I did on repeat play. Talking of modules, I didnt realise they had to release the Columbia mothership, while in Earth orbit, then spin what I think is the service module around 180 degrees and then re-dock to the command module. Its not explained why this stage was designed in this way but its something I want to know, so will try read up on that unless any of you can explain why? The experience gave me the option to navigate this docking manually and its bloody hard just with a normal games controller.
Being inside the Lunar and command modules gave a real feel of how little space they had for manoeuvre and my god, how many buttons and dials are there! I wanted to push those buttons and see what happens but the simulation wont let me, damn!
Its all a very illuminating VR experience that lasts 60-90 mins depending on whether you want to take control of the vehicles or relax and let Collins/Armstrong do their thing. Looking out of the port window of the capsules, seeing a crescent earth-rise from moon orbit, is all lovely. The experience is glamourised though with typical soaring music soundtrack and being an educational piece of software, is peppered with sound bites from interviews with the legendary astronauts. On the moon itself, you get to walk around to various spots and learn about the scientific experiments that were done on the moon.
To be honest, as a VR experience, its not the best out there (I play a lot of VR games) and could be improved in many areas but because it is a simulation of parts of the Apollo 11 journey, it’s a real joy for us astronomy lovers.
If any of you have a PC VR headset or PSVR, then this is a must have and especially now its currently on half price January sale at just £3.50 on Steam VR or £5.79 on Playstation VR.
Steam VR: http://store.steampowered.com/app/457860/Apollo_11_VR/
and u thought walking it from Peckham was tough 🙂
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