Take a virtual trip to the International Space Station

Guests "visit" the International Space Station in "Space Explorers: THE INFINITE" exhibit (Photo courtesy of the Kravis Center)
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By Gerry Barker

Photos by Gerry Barker and Courtesy of the Kravis Center

WEST PALM BEACH — Many of us got our first glimpse into VR (Virtual Reality) via Star Trek’s Holodeck or in the 1994 film, “Disclosure,” where Michael Douglas enters “The Corridor” to find evidence of wrongdoing by Demi Moore.

While the Holodeck is still science fiction fantasy, VR has come a long way in recent years, no better exemplified than in a new exhibit that just opened here at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts entitled “Space Explorers: THE INFINITE.”

A joint presentation by INFINITY Experiences, Felix & Paul Studios and PHI Studio, guests are virtually transported to the International Space Station (ISS) to roam freely, explore, watch astronauts at work and play and enjoy out-of-this-world views of our planet.

The exhibit, which has made stops in Montreal, Houston and Denver, utilizes over two-and-a-half years of “ultra-high-definition 3D, 360° virtual reality” photography inside and out of the ISS by Felix & Paul Studios Space, “the only NASA-approved studio.” The exhibit includes the custom-engineered camera that was used.

You enter the exhibit in small groups

To avoid overcrowding, you enter in small groups, where guides prepare you for your trip into space. We are each issued a VR headset and told what to expect when we step into the space station. People in the same grouping, such as Pam and myself, show up as an avatar with a yellow orb. Others in the exhibit display as avatars with blue orbs, while exhibit personnel have green orbs.

You are told if at any time you need assistance, just raise your hand. And, steer clear of areas marked by red lines — you’ll bump into something. One more thing: When you see a floating yellow rob, you can reach into it with your hand to open up a video about some aspect of life aboard the space station.

View of Earth from the ISS (Photo courtesy Kravis Center)

Headsets on, instructions given, all systems are go as we enter, somewhat gingerly, through a white framed “door” into the inky blackness of space. While you know there’s a floor under you, and a ceiling overhead, it all disappears in a field of stars, which you tentatively begin to explore.

Next we “step into” the ISS itself, and begin to see the floating orbs. There isn’t time to view them all, but each time you touch one, you find yourself watching the astronauts as they go about their days in space, including working outside the station, where the earth is now under your feet. We even saw a hurricane swirling in the clouds.

The exhibit lasts around 45 minutes, including time at the end where you are seated and immersed in a video presentation before turning in your headset to be sanitized and exiting into the gift shop. There’s also an area where you take photographs or selfies, including posing as an astronaut.

We heard plenty of “oohs and ahs” and comments like “breathtaking” and “it’s beautiful.” No doubt about it — it is the closest thing to traveling into space and is truly out-of-this-world.

“Space Explorers: THE INFINITE” will be at the Kravis Center until Sept. 2, 2024. The exhibit is intended for ages 13 and up, and children under the age of 8 are not allowed. Children aged 8-12 need a waiver signed by their parent/guardian before entering.

For more information, visit kravis.org.

Promotional video for “THE INFINITE”:


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