Astra on Meta Quest 3: Is the mixed reality space odyssey worth it?

Astra on Meta Quest 3: Is the mixed reality space odyssey worth it?

Astra turns your living room into a spaceship to explore the solar system. Should you take off or stay on Earth?

Developed in collaboration with Meta, Astra is the new project from Eliza McNitt, who made a splash in 2018 with her cosmic VR experience Spheres. But while I liked Spheres back in the Rift days, Astra leaves me with mixed feelings.

The experience begins when a box of keepsakes appears in your living room. It contains items that remind you of your mother, a renowned astrobiologist and space explorer. Among them are tapes of audio recordings of your mother and you as a child.

The adventure begins when one of your walls is transformed into a stunning spaceship window looking out into space. Over the next half-hour to an hour, you visit a series of planets and their moons. The experience is linear: you select the destination you want to visit at a control panel, and then travel there while an animation plays.

Since the window is huge and the spaceship changes direction, you almost get the feeling that your living room is rotating and floating in space. A cool effect.

Repetitive tasks

The planets, and what you do there, aren't as cool. A Star Trek-style teleporter takes you to the planet's surface, which often looks more like a 360-degree image than a real planet, and only some of them contain animated elements. In these oft bland looking environments, the living room disappears and you're fully immersed in VR. Here, you have to use an AR visor to locate chemical substances and pull them towards you with your hand or controller to collect them.

After collecting these samples, you switch back to the spaceship and assemble the substances before heading to the next planet and moon. You'll do this five or six times before the experience ends.


Your activity is accompanied by explanations of the chemicals and their role as the building blocks of life. For me, the greatest value of Astra lies in this educational aspect. I can imagine that school classes would find it exciting to explore chemistry and astronomy in this way.

Recommended for space fans only

To be clear, there's no game or challenge here, and even with that, Astra's interactions feel repetitive and uninspired.

The story about an astrobiologist and her daughter and their search for the origin of life didn't grab me emotionally. It has simply no room to breathe and is overwhelmed by the visual and technical aspects of the experience.

I see Astra's value mainly as a visual and educational experience. Looking through the windows of the spaceship has its great moments, while the planetary surfaces, with a few exceptions, are pretty boring to look at. Therefore, I can only recommend Astra to fans of mixed reality experiences and space exploration.

You can find Astra in the Horizon Store. It costs $10.