Travel sands, time and space in virtual reality at National Museum

Travel sands, time and space in virtual reality at National Museum

From touching the red sands of Western Australia to floating in the Milky Way, the newest addition to the National Museum of Australia takes viewers on a journey through lands and space like you’ve never seen them before, in a full 360 -grade virtual reality experience. Back on earth, you’ll be able to catch your breath while basking in the sun with penguins in Antarctica.

Brought to us by award-winning filmmaker Briege Whitehead and her production company, White Spark Pictures, Beyond the Milky Way coming to the East Coast for the first time. In the still, quiet and remote Australian outback, you’ll find yourself on the site of one of the largest scientific endeavors undertaken by humans, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project.

The global science project plans to build the most capable radio telescope, 10 times faster than any current telescope. The technology will help explore further into space-time than once thought possible, and hopes to finally answer the big questions: when was the universe born, and is there more life out there?

For 25 minutes you are taken on an epic journey from the sands into the Milky Way where you see our place in the universe and just how many galaxies surround us. Then you are taken behind the scenes to where the work is done to explore those galaxies and beyond.

Although the project involves 16 nations, only two will offer installments. Australia hosts 131,072 two-metre tall Christmas tree-shaped antennas, and South Africa will have 197 dish antennas.

The film is set on location in the land of the oldest living stargazers, the Wajarri Yamaji people. The viewer gets insight into the stargazing of both traditional and emerging technology from an elder, scientists involved in the project, and the soothing voice of Professor Brian Cox.

Adélie penguins rest on an iceberg floating off Magnetic Island in Antarctica. Photo: White Spark Pictures Pty Ltd

Return to the NMA is the company’s first virtual reality film, The Antarctic Experience, which takes us to one of Australia’s permanent research stations on the frozen continent. Experience what life would be like living in the coldest place on Earth, and fly over glaciers in a helicopter on your way to research how ice can help us learn more about the impact that rising temperatures will have on Earth have.

Relax as you watch ice caps drift in and out of the bay, and see Adélie penguin chicks as they rest in preparation for their first solo journey. The visual feast ends with a breathtaking display of Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights glowing along the skyscape.

Don’t forget to turn your head or whole body to capture the full essence of the videos. Can you catch the shadow of a drone on the red sand, see shooting stars, how far the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) stretches, and how many penguins float on the ice caps?

Immerse yourself Beyond the Milky Way and The Antarctic Adventure virtual reality films at the National Museum of Australia from Boxing Day:

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