June 16, 2010
Take a Lunar Stroll
image from Avatrian's YouTube video
Chances are you never went to the Moon. Only 12 astronauts landed there, about 40 years ago, and a new generation of mission planners, astronauts and dreamers must plan a return without first hand experience. But they can get virtual experience, which today is possible with a simulation we developed within the virtual world Second Life. This video reviews some of the scenes and a few of the capabilities within MoonWorld. Your avatar arrives on the Moon, changes into a spacesuit and conducts geologic fieldwork in and around Timocharis crater in Mare Imbrium. You collect and characterize samples, make observations, drill a 5 km deep core through the crater rim, and return to the lunar base to integrate your data into an interpretation of the area's history. MoonWorld is a research tool, meant to study the effectiveness of virtual worlds for learning. To conduct an exploration you need to register for MoonWorld and give us permission to collect data on your travels. If you don't have an avatar we'll loan you one, Only four people can be on the surface at the same time, so it makes sense to form a team - your team members can be anywhere on Earth as long as you each have a modern computer and a high speed internet connection. The procedure for getting in the simulation is a little clunky and you will have to learn to walk and look in different directions. I hope many of you will try it over the next week and let me know how we can improve it. We are already working on version 2.0 and in a few years virtual worlds will be as easy to use as a toaster, in the meantime expect to be a struggling pioneer. Ready to start? Go to our webpage and click one of the two buttons on the right.
MoonWorld is a project of Wheeling Jesuit University working with our Second Life developer team, Avatrian.
An Apollo mission recreated on MoonWorld.
Previous LPOD news about Moonworld.
Yesterday's LPOD: Look Now, Before It Gets Smaller
Tomorrow's LPOD: Still Minute