National Geographic Channel–Virtual Reality Educational Video for Television Series–“One Strange Rock” (One Strange Rock Virtual Reality) - 02.07.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
National Geographic Channel–Virtual Reality Educational Video for Television Series–“One Strange Rock” (One Strange Rock Virtual Reality) transports a virtual reality camera to the International Space Station (ISS) for recording of a National Geographic special on the Earth as a natural life-support system. Crew aboard the ISS record a series of virtual reality pieces for incorporation into a larger documentary about natural history and the solar system. Each episode features a different crew member and addresses different topics using next generation virtual reality technology to raise awareness about the Earth system and the space program.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Matthew Zymet, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Vuze Camera

Principal Investigator(s)
Matthew Zymet, National Geographic, DC, United States

Information Pending

HumanEyes Technologies, Jericho, NY, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - February 2018; -

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

^ back to top

Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • National Geographic Channel–Virtual Reality Educational Video for Television Series–“One Strange Rock” (One Strange Rock Virtual Reality) films in virtual reality (VR) giving viewers an appreciation for the work onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
  • The footage is incorporated into a larger piece of content that teaches viewers the breadth and depth of Earth and Space.
  • One Strange Rock Virtual Reality offers free educational materials for classrooms in the United States (US) and worldwide.
  • The need for the VR is to effectively communicate what the astronauts are doing on the ISS and how it related to the investigation of our planet.


National Geographic Channel–Virtual Reality Educational Video for Television Series–“One Strange Rock” (One Strange Rock Virtual Reality) utilizes the VUZE VR camera for One Strange Rock VR.
The most ambitious project in National Geographic’s 130-year history, ONE STRANGE ROCK is the extraordinary story of our home, told with the help of the only people to have left it behind: astronauts.
One Strange Rock Virtual Reality weaves dramatic visual storytelling and cool science to tell the story of our connected, fragile planet; revealing the magical twists of fate that have allowed life here not only to emerge and survive, but to thrive.
To uncover our planet’s secrets, the ten episodes transport viewers on a thrilling visual adventure: exploring staggering locations and mind-blowing phenomena, wondrous cosmic visions, a fresh take on natural history, and human stories both universal and personal.
The series draws on the individual stories of eight astronauts. As the principal storytellers, they bring singular insight and emotion to our narrative. They have experienced an earth without frontiers, an interconnected marvel in the blackness of space. Together, their stories show that the earth is rare, perhaps unique, in the universe.
Astronauts are remarkable men and women, but not necessarily well known to a general audience. To support and introduce them, and the themes of the show, somebody was chosen whom the audience recognizes and trusts to be the Series Host. As each show has a different main astronaut storyteller, the Series Host has a critical role in bridging episodes, providing continuity, and driving the series arc.
The series breaks bold new ground in factual storytelling; built from the creative combination of the very best natural history and science filmmakers. ONE STRANGE ROCK glories in the planet’s wonders – but its emotional impact goes deeper: as the audience realizes just how interlinked everything is, they’ll also recognize how fragile those links are. The more we appreciate how awe-inspiring the development of life on this planet has been, the more likely we are to become inspired stewards of the home that sustains it.
Episode 1 ‘GASP’
Astronaut host - Chris Hadfield
OUR PERFECTLY CALIBRATED, BREATHING PLANET. For those privileged few who have seen Earth from space, the very first thing they notice is the thin blue line of atmosphere that clings to our planet and sustains life. The story of how the Earth creates and regulates that oxygen is mind-blowing. From snowflakes in the arctic to plankton, desert sandstorms, and rivers in the sky; an incredible chain of connections reveal just how incredible our home is. Everything connects so life and planet breathe together.
Episode 2 ‘STORM’
Astronaut host – Nicole Stott
A PLANET SCULPTED FROM COSMIC VIOLENCE. Earth is a very lucky planet. It has ended up the right size and in the right place. This only happened because of violent cosmic collisions. The crazy thing is, if things had been even slightly different with more or less collisions, we wouldn’t be here. We discover the moments that could have destroyed us, but instead made our planet what it is.
Episode 3 ‘SHIELD’
Astronaut host – Jeff Hoffman
EARTH PROTECTS ITSELF FROM THE SUN. The David and Goliath story of Earth’s relationship with its greatest threat, our seemingly benign Sun. The Sun is the big violent boss of the Solar System throwing out devastating particles and energy. Without several shields, one generated by our unique planetary core, another by our atmosphere, and a third by our interconnected weather systems… life on Earth would never have survived.
Episode 4 ‘GENESIS’
Astronaut host – Mae Jemison
EARTH GIVES BIRTH TO LIFE. The building blocks of life are common across the universe, but life is rare. What’s so special about Earth that it emerged here? Only here on Earth have we found the elixir of life; water in its three forms. But for life to emerge this isn’t enough… huge tides created by the proximity of our perfect Moon, plate tectonics, volcanoes and lightning mean the Earth is a dynamic planet. It’s a huge planetary chemical experiment, a bubbling cauldron that transforms dead minerals into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); the code for all life.
Episode 5 ‘SACRIFICE’
Astronaut host – Jerry Linenger
EARTH, THE GREAT KILLER. Without the cycle of death and sacrifice, from cellular to planetary, life would not be here. From the deaths of stars, to planetary scale mass extinctions and the sacrifice of individuals for a greater genetic good, this is the story of how life evolved hand in hand with death. Death drives evolution. It’s hardwired: from our cells to our landscapes, our colorful living planet is only possible thanks to it. Death leads to opportunity and biodiversity which ironically ensures life on the planet is never wiped out. It’s not enough for our planet to be habitable… it also has to be lethal.
Episode 6 ‘AWAKENING’
Astronaut host – Leland Melvin
YOUR BRAIN IS AN ANOMALY. We tend to think that once the first life emerged it was inevitable that it would eventually evolve into us. But there is nothing inevitable about consciousness. For over 2 billion years no life on Earth possessed a brain. And even today, 90% of life doesn’t have a brain. How life and our Strange Rock came together to create consciousness is a story of almost impossible and unnecessary coincidences….
Episode 7 ‘TERRAFORM’
Astronaut host – Mike Massimino
EARTH’S GREAT PARADOX. For our planet to become inhabitable for life, you already need life. Ever since life emerged, microbes, plants and animals have all sculpted the planet’s surface and air in the strangest of ways; fish poop creates islands; dead animals create mountains; lichen drive continents. But life also has the power to destroy our world. We are changing the climate, but we are not the first to do so. Long before us, microbes froze the planet and almost wiped out all life. The difference between us and them is we are conscious of our actions.
Episode 8 ‘ALIEN’
Astronaut host – Mae Jemison
THE FREAK ACCIDENT BEHIND COMPLEX LIFE. All life on Earth started as single cell bacteria and stayed like that for 2 billion years. Successfully spreading across the planet. So even if we do find alien life, what are the chances of that life being complex – like us? Vanishingly rare… on our strange rock, it’s all down to a freak event, which accidentally happened when one cell ate another to create a kind of cellular power pack: mitochondria. This almost miraculous event transforms Earth into a complex interconnected food web based on a competition for food. And at the top of the pyramid sits us humans.
Episode 9 ‘ESCAPE’
Astronaut host - Chris Hadfield
WE ARE ALL PLANETS. Is it possible for intelligent life to escape destruction, either from the planet or ourselves? Or are we destined for extinction like 99% of all species before us? Our best chance of survival may be to escape Earth and build another colony somewhere else. But there are real barriers: space radiation, microgravity and the bacteria inside us will conspire against us. And our DNA is coded for the conditions here on Earth, so if we ever manage to colonize another planet those who are born there will evolve into another species.
Episode 10 ‘HOME’
Astronaut host – Peggy Whitson
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. We wrap up the whole series through the story of NASA’s most experienced female astronaut, Peggy Whitson, as she returns home to Earth. We might possibly be the only intelligent life in the universe. Life is rare, complex life rarer, and intelligent life may be an evolutionary bad idea or dead end that is rarer still… and that means that it’s possible that we humans may be the only thing in this huge and amazing universe that can appreciate its strangeness with awe and wonder.

^ back to top


Space Applications
One Strange Rock Virtual Reality supports space programs by creating a virtual reality experience of space for a mass platform. A better understanding of life aboard the ISS inspires wonder and demonstrates the everyday achievements of the space program. A documentary told from the perspective of space also helps the public understand certain mission constraints, like the need to manage radiation exposure, and the scientific architecture for long-term missions to other planets.

Earth Applications
One Strange Rock Virtual Reality benefits Earth applications by contributing to a flagship scientific series about the Earth system and its place in the solar system. The One Strange Rock series uses advanced virtual reality technology, rich storytelling and an award-winning production crew to explain the Earth system to a 21st century audience. Combining technology, the ISS and media capabilities in this way creates an enriching narrative for public appreciation.

^ back to top


Operational Requirements and Protocols
One Strange Rock Virtual Reality utilizes the VUZE VR camera.

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top

Results/More Information

Information Pending

^ back to top

Related Websites
National Geographic

^ back to top