Where were you when Neil Armstrong said: “One small step for a man …”? I was 14 years old and in school. The school broadcast the moonlanding on the intercom so we could all join in on the moment.
Funny how I recall listening to the intercom, but don’t remember watching it on TV a couple of days later. There were photos in the newspaper — I bought the slides, which are still around here somewhere.
I’ve been hearing and reading about Second Life, but with insufficient time for my First Life I’d been avoiding the Second. Until a couple of weeks ago, when my partner Deb, currently enjoying some voluntary time off work, told me she’d signed up. I promptly signed up too, saying: “provided I can be the captain of a spaceship.”
After finding out how to move around I spent a silly amount of time changing my appearance. Who knew I cared so much about how I look? All the avatars are so straight though…
I’m working on a book for community groups about using Internet technology to further their goals. This Webguide 2 is a sequel to Webguide 1, that appeared online last year and in print at the start of this year. That was a partial excuse for exploring both Second Life and Twitter. Both could be useful tools for community groups too.
-> space explorer!
Now look what NASA have come up with: virtual space exploration! We’ll be able to not just listen on the radio, watch on TV, but go along for the ride:
Taking a step into the new frontier, NASA Ames Research Center, under the direction of Simon “Pete” Worden, has launched an island in Second Life, an online 3-D virtual world created, shaped, and owned by its participants.
If successful, the partnership could offer a powerful new tool to increase global participation in NASA’s exploration agenda, one day allowing the public “take part” in returning to the Moon, future missions to Mars, the asteroids and beyond-all without the need of a spacesuit.
… Projected onto two giant screens on either side of the podium, conference antendees watched as Worden’s avatar simutaneously “addressed” a group of Second Life avatars in their virtual world-citizens with names like Space Pioneer Michael Widget and Space Settler Rocket Sellers. Meanwhile on the other screen, Worden’s avatar “spoke” to the real world audience.
“We’re using the power of virtual environments to expand our reach,” Worden said. “We are looking at how this island can be a portal for all to fly along on space missions. Real data from real missions such as the International Space Station can be ported into virtual environments,” he added.
… Worden said that, in this manner, everyone can participate in space exploration. “When the next people step onto the surface of the Moon in a little over a decade, your avatar could be with them,” he noted.
… Following Worden’s presentation, NSS executive director George Whitesides announced that the society had also established an island in Second Life adjacent to the NASA Ames virtual domain.