You know, we often take for granted how effortlessly astronauts move around while in zero gravity. It takes a certain grace, but we forget that they've been training for years.
Now, we've seen footage of astronauts training in anti-gravity chambers, but it is much easier to replicate low gravity motion in two dimensions, rather than three.
ESTEC, the European Space Agency's technical heart based in the Netherlands, created a room at its Orbital Robotics Lab that has a 4.8 x 9 m epoxy floor smoothed to within 0.8 mm across its surface. Kind of like a giant air hockey table, air-bearing platforms glide across it. It appears to be much more difficult than the pros make it look.
Matthias Maurer of the European Astronaut Center recently gave it a shot, simply trying to retrieve a key and open an electrical box. Luckily, he had an assist from his hose man.
Well, the Lab has added another feature, virtual reality. Not only are astronauts gliding on the platform, but an Oculus Rift VR makes it appear as though you're actually gliding through the International Space Station.
I’m really interested to try this thing, but based on my last experience in VR, I’ll leave