Sharing its name with a famous speech by scientist Carl Sagan, which in itself was inspired by an iconic image recorded by the Voyager 1 space probe, Pale Blue Dot is an upcoming virtual reality (VR) experience created by Eliza McNitt, and is designed to help people gain a new understanding of the universe and Earth’s place in it.
McNitt previously produced a VR experience set amongst the stars, releasing Fistful of Stars in 2016, a VR experience that let users on Google Cardboard experience the life cycle of a star in the distant Orion nebula. The new experience goes even further, taking users on a grand journey from our solar system out into the vast reaches of the universe.
“Pale Blue Dot is a journey of home: Viewers begin in our solar system and go deeper and deeper in interstellar space to the edges of the cosmic horizon, but ultimately, they look back at our pale blue dot and realize how small we are in the grand scheme of things,” McNitt said, “It also shows us how important it is to take care of this place and each other because this is the only home we have.”
McNitt says she wants to encourage the wonder of exploration, allowing VR users to explore the virtual world with only a little bit of guidance: “Sound design is a really critical piece of the experience because it shows you different parts of the world that you wouldn’t otherwise discover,” McNitt explained, “For example, if you have something visual over here but then suddenly the sound of something magical comes in over there, it draws your attention away, and you’re captivated by this new part of the story.”
McNitt and her team are also incorporating an unusual interactive element where users help develop the music score: “Even though there’s no sound in space, each planet has a very unique plasma wave that emits its own song. We wanted to bring that to life,” she said. “Through Pale Blue Dot, we wanted to craft an experience that gives you the opportunity to take the song of each planet and craft a chorus of the cosmos.”
A firm release date for Pale Blue Dot has not been established, but it is expected to be released some time in 2018.
VRFocus will bring you further information on Pale Blue Dot as it becomes available.