Antarctica without windchill, the Louvre without queues: how to travel the world from home | The Mandarin

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SpaceX’s recent Falcon 9 rocket launch proves humanity has come leaps and bounds in its effort to reach other worlds. But now there’s a quicker, safer and environmentally friendlier way to travel to the centre of the galaxy – and you can do it too.
NASA has co-developed a free virtual reality (VR) adventure providing 500 years of travel around the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The experience is available to download from two major VR stores, Steam and Viewport, in a non-collapsed star system near you.
And this kind of spacefaring may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of virtual travel and tourism.

The virtual travel bug
Simply speaking, VR refers to technology that immerses users in a computer-generated world that removes them from reality. Augmented Reality (AR), however, aims to superimpose virtual imagery over a user’s view of the real world. Pokémon Go is a popular AR game.
According to Forbes, Pokemon Go made US$176 million in August last year.Shutterstock
VR-based tourism has a longer history than you might think. In the 1850s, it involved staring at stereographs with a stereoscope. With this invention, viewers looked at …

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