'Interstellar' Launches Immersive Space Trip with IMAX, Oculus Rift

The "Interstellar" exhibition by Paramount Pictures, IMAX and Oculus Rift gives an immersive look inside the Endurance spaceship featured in the film. Pictured here, a view down a long corridor on the way to Endurance's cockpit.
The "Interstellar" exhibition by Paramount Pictures, IMAX and Oculus Rift gives an immersive look inside the Endurance spaceship featured in the film. Pictured here, a view down a long corridor on the way to Endurance's cockpit. (Image credit: para)

NEW YORK — Grab your spacesuits, space fans. The folks behind "Interstellar," arguably the most anticipated space film of the year, are offering a sneak peek inside the movie's centerpiece spaceship Endurance. And all it takes is a few minutes of your time. 

For a limited time, Paramount Pictures and IMAX are inviting the public to take a free three-minute tour of the Endurance in a special traveling exhibit that began its cross-country tour today (Oct. 6). The experience uses the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 to transport space fans aboard the Endurance virtually, allowing a truly immersive ride aboard the fictional spacecraft at the heart of "Interstellar."

Directed by Christopher Nolan," Interstellar" tells the story of a team of explorers "traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars," according to a plot description. Matthew McConaughey leads an all-star cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain among others. ["Interstellar": A Space Epic in Pictures]

Space.com managing editor Tariq Malik visits the Endurance spacecraft, featured in the film "Interstellar," in a virtual experience created by Paramount Pictures, IMAX and the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2. (Image credit: Space.com)

I had the chance to test drive the virtual reality experience first-hand, and to call it immersive is an understatement. From spectacular views of Saturn and stars in the windows to the Endurance interior itself, the amount of attention to detail is incredible. A shift from a spin-induced gravity to "weightlessness," in particular, was as surprising as it was amazing. 

Perhaps Nolan himself puts it best:

"I was impressed with how the experience is able to put you in the cockpit of 'Interstellar's' spaceship, the Endurance," Nolan said in a statement. "It was just like being back on set."

But if you want to take a trip on "Interstellar's" rocket ship, you better act fast. The exhibition will only spend a few days in a handful of select cities before it closes. Here's a rundown of where and when to catch a ride aboard Endurance:

New York City (Oct. 6-8): AMC Lincoln Square 13;

Houston (Oct. 17-19): AMC Gulf Pointe 30;

Los Angeles (Oct. 25-27): AMC City Walk;

Chantilly, Virginia (Nov. 5-19): Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center (home of NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery).

The "Interstellar" Endurance experience will be open at its designated theaters from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on exhibition days, and is free on a first-come, first-served basis. 

While "Interstellar" will be released in theaters nationwide on Nov. 7, Paramount is unveiling the film in IMAX format a full two days early, on Nov. 5, in advance screenings in 240 theaters across the United States. You can learn how to reserve tickets for those advance screenings at http://interstellar.withgoogle.com, as well as at the websites of the individual participating theaters.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.