Stand on Pluto's Icy Surface in Virtual Reality Movie by the 'NYT'

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft ushers us into a virtual world. 


Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart is the latest virtual reality movie from The New York Times, which takes viewers through space on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it made a pass on Pluto to take pictures.

The New York Times says it worked with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association to construct a virtual representation of Pluto’s surface for viewers to explore.

It’s one of the most immersive and impressive VR videos to come to the app yet, as you are placed directly on the surface of the planet viewing everything from the planes of icy rock to the pink mountains that seem vast in the distance.

Narrator Dennis Overbye calmly and soothingly explains that these mountains would actually be quite easy to climb since Pluto’s low gravity would give humans the jumping powers of a common cat.

This New York Times VR short film lets you explore the surface of Pluto. 


Sometimes it’s best to turn around in the virtual world and look not at the mountain range before your eyes, but back at our galaxy’s Sun. It’s humbling to see the same light that shines so bright on earth make it all the way out to the cold caverns of Pluto.

As quickly as NASA’s Horizon had to pass by the planet, so too does the virtual journey have to come to a close with one look back at the silhouetted rock in space as Horizon analyzes the glow for atmospheric particles.

In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the dwarf planet Pluto (R) and Charon are shown July 11, 2015.

NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI via Getty Images

This video is a great display of how VR can transport us literally to different worlds and provide a learning experience. And you don’t even need the $600 Oculus Rift to do it.

Anyone with Google’s low cost, low tech Cardboard VR headset can watch the movie by loading up the app on a phone and placing it in the headset. Space fans can also just watch it as a 360 video on a smartphone if they don’t have Google Cardboard.

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