The International Space Station (ISS) is made up of lots of modules added over its 20-year history, and this week current crew member Thomas Pesquet offered a tour of one.
The immersive 360-degree video (above) offers our best look yet at the European Space Agency’s Columbus module, a research facility that was delivered to the the ISS by a NASA space shuttle in 2008.
The 75-cubic-meter module is Europe’s largest single addition to the space station and was the first permanent European research facility to be sent to space. Its operation is overseen by the Columbus Control Centre at the German Space Operations Center near Munich, Germany.
Pesquet says that while it may not be the largest module on the space station — that accolade goes to the Japanese Experiment Module, also known as Kibo — it is definitely one of the best equipped.
The French astronaut, who arrived at the ISS in April for a six-month stay, points out some of the kit used by the crew for science work both inside and outside the station.
The gear includes Veggie, a kind of high-tech garden where astronauts experiment with growing different types of plants, and the Fluid Science Laboratory for studying the dynamics of fluids in the absence of gravity.
Pesquet also points out a new sleeping station that he says he’ll be using for the second half of his mission.
The video’s 360-degree presentation means that on mobile you can move the device to follow Pesquet as he guides you around the module (or you can simply use your finger to drag the picture around). On desktop, use the mouse to drag the picture in any direction to get a full view of the module.
Note that Pesquet gives the tour in his native tongue, so if your French language skills aren’t up to it then just hit the “cc” button on YouTube’s controls for English subtitles.
Want to see more of the space station? Then check out this cinematic fly-through of the orbiting outpost shot in pin-sharp 4K.