While we've seen lots of Columbus module, the ISS research pod deployed by the ESA in 2008.and of the inside of the International Space Station (ISS), from aboard the orbiting outpost and even up there, your chance to actually guide yourself through the various modules that comprise the station has been limited. That changed in June, when the European Space Agency (ESA) put up a website that allowed you to pilot your mouse around the
Now, the ESA has expanded its virtual tour site to include five more modules. In fact, all of the modules are now online except for the Russian ones, which the ESA says will be released later this year, so you can now click around quite a bit of the Space Station.
The virtual tour was created from photos taken by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in June 2015, just before she left the space base, after spending 199 days aboard.
As you pan around the different modules, you can zoom in to check out tiny details -- like the circuitry and writing on various pieces of equipment, or the bulldog clips and velcro used to stop things floating around -- which I personally find endlessly captivating.
You can also click on the "play" arrows to see video of Cristoforetti engagingly explaining parts of the station. Various text boxes also give you pop-up windows with even more information -- like a link to the ESA's "Where is the International Space Station?" web page.
The site works best in full-screen mode and truly gives you a taste of something only a minuscule fraction of humanity will ever experience in person. And all without the need to eator , which can only be a bonus.