Space Walk Interactive Tour

3-star rating
Education, Free, Space
Comfortable, Stationary

Space Walk is a virtual reality and flatscreen tour of our solar system from the Aalto University in Finland. Initial control is out of your hands as the experience flies you toward the center of the solar system and dramatic music swells as you approach the sun, but from here your explorations are under your control.

The sun, each of the eight planets and several other solar system bodies are available for you to fly between, and a hand-grab mechanism allows you to fine tune your viewing position. An interpretive text panel accompanies each location and toggle switches offer additional information and graphical overlays. Additional information includes magnetosphere models and the trajectories of orbiting scientific space missions. A menu allows you to adjust the exaggerated scale models of the solar bodies and to increase the speed of planetary orbits that are positioned using real timestamps.

Accompanying music is used in an interesting manner - each solar body has it's own soundtrack that fades in and out relative to your distance, and toggling on the additional interpretive information often adds additional layers of sound to the music in a satisfying way.

Information presented in Space Walk appears to include an accurate representation of the solar system, and its satisfying to be able to view the eccentricities in the orbits of the planets, including how they deviate from the orbital plane. There's definitely opportunity to learn something new with this program.

Regrettably however, Space Walk feels unfinished and suffers from a lack of polish and attention to detail. Movement around the solar system is frustrating - flying between objects can't be interrupted, and the hand-grab mechanism only moves you small distances at a time, so it's difficult to achieve points of view that you may be looking for. Also English is clearly not the first language of the development team as phrasing and typos within the interpretive text are distracting at times.

The flatscreen version of Space Walk is available for download from the Aalto University website. We hoped movement control might be better with keyboard and mouse controls, but alas the flatscreen version is more difficult than the virtual reality version. At least both are free to try out for yourself.

✅ Includes engaging content and illustrations
❌ Difficult navigation
❌ English language text is poor at times

• Languages: English, Finnish, Swedish
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