When Neil Armstrong and the rest of the Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon it cost American taxpayers more than $25 billion. But earth-bound explorers could soon experience a similar sensation for a fraction of the cost now that a virtual reality company has crowdfunded a program that aims to let users experience the mission from their couch.
Immersive VR Education, a Dublin, Ireland-based developer, raised more than $39,000 in a Kickstarter to fund the project, exceeding its initial goal of $32,000. The virtual reality software, designed for the Oculus Rift, promises to take users from Earth to the moon as astronauts, including a lift-off experience, docking the lunar module and walking across the surface of the moon itself. The designers have incorporated audio and images actually used by NASA's Mission Control center in 1969, adding the real footage captured by astronauts who made the voyage.
The company said it hopes the Apollo 11 experience will lead to a range of VR programs covering geography, biology, medicine, history and other fields.
“We don't just want kids to read about history we want them to experience history as a living entity that they can relate to,” the Kickstarter explanation pitched. “Our prototype demo is just a proof of concept at the moment and just a small taste of what we have planned. Your money will help us recreate the full mission with more detailed models, animated avatars and interactive gameplay.”