Here’s How You Can Take a Virtual Tour of the International Space Station—Using Google Maps

Welcome to outer space as you’ve never seen it before.

Take-A-Virtual-Tour-of-the-International-Space-Station—Using-Google-Maps-shutterstock-8550210a-APREXShutterstockAP/REX/ShutterstockMove over, Chinese teleportation. (Yes, the Chinese really did teleport matter into space!) Humans just got one step closer to galactic exploration, thanks to Google Maps.

Our favorite GPS system just launched a new ‘Street View’ feature that allows anyone with Internet access to take a virtual tour of the International Space Station (ISS). The real-life images of the orbiting laboratory were snapped by Thomas Pequet, an astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA). During the six months he lived on board the ISS as a flight engineer, he captured photos using a gravity-free method designed by Google’s Street View team and NASA. You’ll want to try these Google Maps trips immediately.

Take-A-Virtual-Tour-of-the-International-Space-Station—Using-Google-Maps-shutterstock-via-nasa.govvia nasa.gov“In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space,” Pesquet said. “Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space.”

While we already have incredible photos of what Earth looks like from outer space, these amazing images give us a peek inside the space station itself. Pesquet shot still-life pictures in space and sent them down to Earth, where they were placed together to create a panoramic, 360-degree image of the ISS, he said.

As you explore the space station, keep an eye out for pop-up notes that share interesting facts and information about the astronauts’ daily lives. From where they exercise and experiment to what they eat, you’ll feel like you’re on board the ISS, too. (But you definitely won’t see these foods, because they are banned from space!)

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.