Travel the World and Into Space With These Virtual Reality Apps
We’ve previously shared five travel experiences you can enjoy from your home—from taking a tour of the United States’ beautiful national parks to exploring museums and art galleries from around the world. But if that’s not enough to satisfy your wanderlust, why not take the experience further with virtual reality (VR)?
1/10 Google Earth VR
Available on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, Google Earth VR brings the world to you. Teleport across the globe, soar over the Grand Canyon, or stroll through the streets of Tokyo, which is made more immersive with Street View imagery. It’s almost like you’re there!
2/10 National Geographic VR
Compatible with Google DayDream, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Go, National Geographic VR regularly offers new content across culture, animals, science, and travel, giving us a glimpse into life on the other side of the world. You can get up-close and personal with beautiful, endangered species, dive with sharks in the ocean, and free-climb El Capitan from the comfort of your home. If you’re looking for a more interactive experience, however, the National Geographic Explore VR on Oculus Quest puts you in the shoes of a National Geographic explorer on a mission to capture photographs in Antarctica and Machu Picchu, Peru.
3/10 Qantas VR
Looking to make a virtual trip down under? Grab your VR headset and load up Australian airline Qantas’ VR app. Offering 360-degree aerial footage of Qantas destinations, you can see all of Australia’s breathtaking scenery—including the world’s first virtual fly over of Uluru—in six minutes or less. It is available for iPhone, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices.
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4/10 VeeR VR
Like Youtube for VR, VeeR is a VR video platform featuring content by creators from around the world. Whether your interest is in sports, travel, sci-fi, animation, or horror, there’s plenty to explore on the platform, which is available for mobile as well as major VR headsets including the Oculus, HTC Vive, and Google Daydream.
A truly immersive arts and culture experience, Boulevard offers an interactive tour of various museums and cultural sites in the United States and England. Explore true-to-life 3D renderings of exhibitions including The Rubin Museum: Gateway to Himalayan Art; Turner Contemporary: Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk; Victoria & Albert Museum’s Romance & Nostalgia: Constable; and more, and tap into the artworks or artefacts to see textual information or listen to an audio guide. There are also bonus features for selected pieces that will engage you further—tapping on Édouard Manet’s, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, for example, will transport you into an animated reimagining of the events in the 19th-century painting.
6/10 Everest VR
Climb the breath-taking but treacherous Mount Everest in this first-person, photo-realistic experience. Everest VR's vivid recreation gives you a glimpse into the journey of a climber—from preparing for your expedition at the base camp to eventually reaching the summit of Everest. And when you conquer the mountain, enter God mode, which offers a stunning VR diorama of the Himalayas. Compatible with Valve Index, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Dive deep into this award-winning VR experience, which brings you face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring creatures of the ocean. Play a marine explorer as you encounter an 80-foot whale, witness an undersea migration on the edge of a coral reef, and venture into the deep sea in theBlu. You can slow time and capture images in the Inspector mode, or enjoy the view in Ambient mode. The experience is available on Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
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8/10 Nasa Exoplanet Excursions
In this Oculus and HTC Vive-compatible app, Nasa takes you on a guided tour of the Trappist-1—the only known exoplanet system to host seven Earth-sized planets. The app was first released in 2018 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope. As the telescope’s mission concluded on January 30 this year, the app has been further updated to include a narrated tour of the telescope, allowing users to control and interact with it.
9/10 BBC Home - A VR Spacewalk
Inspired by Nasa’s training programs, this highly-acclaimed VR app takes you on a spacewalk 250 miles above Earth, where you are tasked with making a repair outside the International Space Station. Endorsed by British astronaut Tim Peake, Home offers an authentic look into the work of astronauts, while delivering an emotional and heart-stopping narrative. It is available on HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
10/10 Mars 2030
What will a trip to Mars be like in 2030? Developed by FMG Labs in partnership with Nasa, Mars 2030 is VR simulation that lets you take on the role of an astronaut on the first manned mission to the Red Planet. Centred on open-world exploration, venture across 40 sq km of the terrain—mapped and modelled using Nasa’s satellite data—to collect samples and make new discoveries. You’ll also get to experience realistic weather conditions, atmospheric pressure and gravity of the planet. It is compatible with Valve Index, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.