In this image, software engineer Hadrien Gurnel is exploring a 3D map of the universe via virtual reality. The Virtual Reality Universe Project at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland builds, in real-time, a virtual universe based on current data. Image via Phys.org/ Laurent Gillieron/ Keystone via AP.
Fewer than 600 people, of Earth’s billions, have traveled to space so far. So it’s likely that you personally won’t get to visit the International Space Station, or, say, Mars. And none of us will travel so far as another galaxy, or far enough away in space (and therefore far enough back in time) to witness the early universe, or even the Big Bang itself. But now you can do all those things virtually.
This week (October 12, 2021), researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne released a beta version of their Virtual Reality Universe Project, which they call VIRUP. Its open-source beta software contains what these scientists say is the largest data set of the universe.
The team used this data to create 3D panoramic landscapes of space that you can fly through, if you have the right gear. One note: The beta version can’t yet ...