Want to walk on the Moon? Only 12 astronauts have been lucky enough to do it; the rest of you better start saving now for when Elon Musk decides to launch some kind of LiMoonSine service. Until then, the next best thing is A Moon for All Mankind, a new virtual reality experience that just arrived at New York’s Samsung 837 showroom.
Free to play, A Moon for All Mankind is a “4D lunar gravity” experience created with the help of NASA that lets anyone feel what it's like to walk on the Moon. To prepare for your Moon mission, you’ll be wearing a replica astronaut flight suit and clipped into a harness that simulates microgravity. Pop the Samsung Gear VR headset with a Galaxy S9+ smartphone on your head, and you’re ready look, hop and reach anywhere within the gaming area — because the headset is untethered, you won’t be limited by any cords.
To put it to the real test, Samsung had an actual former astronaut Mike Massimino, who now teaches mechanical engineering at Columbia University (when he’s not guest starring on The Big Bang Theory), try out the rig. “That was great; that was so awesome,” he says as soon as he takes off the headset. “The experience, the whole thing from start to finish, getting here getting the briefing, getting dressed, it’s just like we would do for real training events or for real spaceflights, so that’s kind of cool. All of a sudden you’re somewhere else and you forget you’re in the middle of New York City.”
Definitely helpful in the dog days of summer. All kidding aside, the space program has been languishing under the Trump administration and could use a boost right now, and an experience like this could spark new interest in the stars. As Massimino says, “This shows [people] what’s possible in a very personal, graphical way, ‘this is what your life could be like in the future,’ and I think that’s really powerful.”
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that brought all 12 Americans to the Moon. Ironically, the tech being used to pretend like you’re one of them is far more advanced than what got them up into space and back.
Previously, Samsung 837 has let you ride in Santa's sleigh and, err, experience the sinking of the Titanic. The showroom is located at 837 Washington St. in the Meatpacking District. For more information about A Moon for All Mankind and to schedule your moonwalk, visit 837gearvr.com.
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Hungry for more virtual reality? New York also has a giant arcade, VR World.