The fragility of Earth. That is one of the overwhelming impressions that many astronauts talk about when they get back from space. It's hard to convey in a photograph, or even in a video. But a new company proposes that virtual reality from space will make the world more aware of our planet's need for careful care.
A virtual reality camera will be sent to the International Space Station, promises SpaceVR. Called Overview One, it will live aboard the Cupola, a window that allows for 360 degree views of Earth.
PHOTOS: Epic Aurora Photos From the Space Station
CEO Ryan Holmes says that with a lineup of people looking to use Virgin Galactic flights, and the popularity of documentaries such as Overview, there is definitely a market of people looking to get as close to space as possible.
"If I can bring this experience to the entire world, it would make that change that we're seeing in these astronauts in everyone, and we would live in a fundamentally different world," he told Discovery News. "It needs to happen as soon as possible."
SpaceVR recently concluded a Kickstarter campaign where it raised more than $113,000 - slightly over its $100,000 goal. The money will go towards the launch, flight certification and sending down the footage physically a couple of times per year.
NEWS: Virtual Reality Overtakes More than Just Gaming
This money will be added on to a small "friends and family" round of funding that Holmes gathered about six months before bringing his concept to the public. He hopes to use the Kickstarter as a platform to bring in more investment shortly, because he has big plans.
"We are experimenting with potentially building a VR (virtual reality) CubeSat network, a small one, so people can see large events in the world happen from their homes," Holmes said. Those small satellites would also be launched from the ISS, but no firm timeline has been set for when this would happen.
ANALYSIS: The First Humans on Mars will be Virtual Explorers
The 360-degree camera for the first virtual reality sessions should head up to the space station in the second quarter of 2016, but the launch vehicle has not yet been chosen. First footage should be available by September. By then, Holmes said there should be a subscriber base in place to pay for the video, but he has not firmed up plans yet for how to attract them.