Explore Space in virtual reality: The best experiences, games and movies

Explore Space in virtual reality: The best experiences, games and movies

Only a few people have been allowed to visit outer space. Virtual reality brings you closest to the experience.

Note: This article only lists titles developed exclusively for Virtual Reality.

Apollo 11 HD

The VR experience lets you relive all the major stages of the Apollo 11 mission in a historically accurate way. The entire journey is recreated from boarding the launch vehicle, to landing on the moon, to returning to Earth.

In the role of Neil Armstrong, you take charge of operational objectives: docking the command module with the lunar module, landing on the moon, and exploring the lunar surface. The studio responsible skillfully combines learning, gaming, and film experience and skillfully uses the strengths of the new medium.

Supported devices Store Price
Meta Quest (2), Oculus Rift (S) Oculus Store $9.99
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Steam $9.99
Playstation VR (Comes bundled with a Titanic VR experience) Playstation Store $22.99

2D cockpit games in VR

The following titles are also available for monitors and TVs, but they only develop their full effect in VR mode:

Google Earth VR

Google Earth VR is actually intended for exploring the world, but also offers the possibility to zoom out into the surrounding space and see the Earth as a blue sphere in front of you. You can’t demonstrate the proportions much more impressively than with the infinitely variable zoom of this ingenious VR app.

Supported devices Store Price
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Steam Free
Oculus Rift (S), Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Oculus Store Free

Into Space

The two lavishly produced 360-degree films 1st Step and 2nd Step show the Apollo missions and mankind’s next great voyage of exploration: the journey to Mars. For the portrayal of human actors, the Darmstadt-based studio Faber Courtial hired professional actors and recorded their faces with special cameras before transferring them to the computer simulation. Like the rest of the film, they look very lifelike.

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Supported devices Store Price
Meta Quest (2) App Lab $5.99
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Viveport $5,99

Lone Echo 1 & 2

Released in 2017 for Oculus Rift, this sci-fi game is considered an early milestone in virtual reality. You take on the role of Jack, an artificial intelligence who keeps a space station running in the rings of Saturn alongside human captain Olivia Rhodes. When an anomaly occurs, you must fight for your very survival.

In no other VR experience do you move so intuitively through weightless spaces by holding onto or pushing away from objects. The developers borrowed this method of locomotion from astronauts.

Lone Echo II, a successful sequel to the space adventure, was released in 2021.

Supported devices Platform Price
Oculus Rift (S), Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Oculus Store $19,99

Mission: ISS

In this VR experience, you can explore the reconstructed space station in zero gravity.

By pointing your virtual finger at selected objects, you learn via audio and video what purpose they serve in the space station. For example, you will learn how the astronauts keep fit, conduct research and use the space toilet. The highlight of Mission:ISS is the spacewalk in the spacesuit. Once you leave the confines of the space station, the Earth looks even more graceful than through the narrow windows of the ISS.

Supported devices Store Price
Meta Quest (2) Oculus Store Free
Oculus Rift (S), Meta Quest (2) via PC VR Streaming Oculus Store Free

Overview: A Walk Through the Universe

In this VR experience, you’re supposed to experience the vastness of the universe, and the app does an excellent job of that. Overview features detailed and, in some scenes, spectacular graphics, as well as six explanatory pieces that introduce you to Earth, the solar system, planets, Saturn, and the Milky Way.

Thanks to an exploration mode, you can explore the universe on your own. The makers have succeeded in using the visual strength of virtual reality – namely, making the wearer of the headset feel vastness and scale – so skillfully that the same story would not have the same effect on the flat monitor.

Supported devices Store Price
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Steam $9.99
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Viveport $9.99
Oculus Rift (S), Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Oculus Store $9.99

Space Engine

Since 2005, developer Vladimir Romanyuk has been working on a simulation of the universe. Known galaxies, nebulae, planets or moons can be found there. The rest of the universe is filled with procedurally generated content. In 2019, Space Engine was released on Steam with VR support.

Space Engine simulates objects to within a few meters: You can walk in the craters of the moon or enjoy sunrises on alien planets. Thanks to virtual reality, the proportions can also be changed: With a flick of the wrist, the solar system floats into your room and the Earth becomes a blue marble. Space Engine is Google Earth VR in space and as such simply impressive.

Supported devices Platform Price
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Steam $24,99

Space Explorers

Space Explorers is the most elaborate film production shot in space to date.

For three years, the ISS crew has accompanied life on the space station with a high-resolution VR camera. Thanks to a 360-degree panoramic view and stereoscopic 3D, the viewer almost has the feeling of being on the ISS and is there when the astronauts research, eat and train.

Space Explorers is scheduled for four episodes. Three have already been released, the fourth episode is to follow in 2022 and will be filmed outside the ISS. There are also three special episodes.

Below is an overview including an Oculus TV link for watching with Meta Quest 1 or 2:

This is how you can find the VR movies on Oculus TV:

  • Click on the appropriate movie link (see list above).
  • You will be redirected to the corresponding movie page. Log in to your Oculus or Facebook account, if necessary.
  • Click on “Watch later.”
  • Put on your VR headset and open Oculus TV.
  • The movie should now appear under the “Saved” section.

Spheres

Spheres is a three-part VR film with powerful images and sound that illuminates man’s relationship to the cosmos. Rarely do you have the opportunity to feel as close to the universe as you do in Spheres.

Because the VR film stages cosmic processes as interactive, audiovisual fireworks. You’ll be drawn into the maelstrom of a black hole, listen to the sounds of space, and learn what makes the blue planet so special.

Supported devices Store Price
Meta Quest (2) Oculus Store $9.99
Oculus Rift (S), Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Oculus Store $9.99

Universe Sandbox

Universe Sandbox is an astronomy and physics simulator. You can change the chemical air composition of individual planets or move the sun further away from the earth and admire the frosty result.

You can certainly spend hours studying the digital manual alone to understand all the game variations and setting options of the simulator. However, this is not necessary to enjoy the application. Each of us has a rough idea of what the solar system looks like, and how it is organized – rationally, that is clear. Emotionally, however, you only understand it in virtual reality.

Supported devices Platform Price
PC VR headsets, Meta Quest (2) via PC VR streaming Steam 24,99 Euro