The International Space Station is as far as humans go in space these days, but it is at just the right distance to capture astonishing images of Earth.

Produced by: Dennis Overbye, Jonathan Corum and Jason Drakeford

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1yG5RcV

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Stunning Views of Earth From the International Space Station | Out There | The New York Times
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheNewYorkTimes

Explore the USS Eisenhower during combat training and see why the flight deck of an aircraft carrier is one of the most dangerous spots in the world to work.

View more unprecedented VR scenes from the Eisenhower:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlvHlI3rc2tPXY-woSW8SAb7PYOLSoEIn

Download the USA TODAY app for more great VR in the "Virtual Reality" section.

In the middle of deployment training off the Atlantic Coast, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's 5,000 sailors prepared for a missile strike.

Dressed in flame-retardant hoods and gloves, they practiced battling fires, containing flooding and testing for chemical or biological agents.

"All hands man battle stations," commanders instructed over the ship's communications system as alarms blared. "Missiles inbound, brace for shot."

Hours later, the Eisenhower's executive officer signaled the end of the night exercise. Robert Aguilar wasn't happy. 

"We are moving out of training and moving into combat," he told the ship. "This is no time for smoking and joking. We are getting ourselves ready for the war that we are headed into."

That was in April 2016. The Eisenhower and its accompanying carrier strike group, more than 7,000 sailors in total, deployed two months later to the eastern Mediterranean, where they joined the international fight to contain ISIS and served as a deterrent to threats from Russia, Iran, Syria and others in the volatile region.

Where to find "USS Eisenhower VR"

The USA TODAY NETWORK VR team and a reporter from the Pensacola News Journal visited the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to gather exclusive 360-degree video and photos during three days of round-the-clock air operations. An interactive VR experience for the HTC Vive allows the user to explore a virtual model of the Eisenhower and discover 360-degree photos and videos from above and below deck. 

“Eisenhower VR” is the first time a major news organization has told a story combining 360-degree video and VR interactivity on such a large scale. 

Interactive versions are available for the HTC Vive and for Google Daydream headsets.  360-degree video features are best-viewed on smartphones or VR via the Virtual Reality section of the USA TODAY app (iOS | Android), the USA TODAY YouTube and Facebook channels. Samsung Gear or Playstation VR users can find the videos in the Littlstar app.
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Do you want to travel through outer space without leaving your house? Gazing at the stars, we all ask ourselves, "What would happen if I went into space?" Today, you have a unique chance to explore the Universe and see the Earth from space.
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