March 3, 2009

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image from MoonWorld abstract

Do you have an avatar? Have you been in Second Life? You are going to want to, I hope, later this year when the MoonWorld virtual reality simulation goes online. Second Life (SL) is a persistent virtual world that is very different from a web site. It is a three dimensional environment that you explore not by looking at, but by walking, running or flying through. "You" are represented by an avatar which can be either sex or even an animal or a mythological creature. My colleagues and I at the Center for Educational Technologies are creating an island (a distinct parcel of land in SL) that will be terraformed (lunaformed?) to resemble the area of the crater Timocharis. We will augment the actual Timocharis landscape with a lava flow (modeled on those in western Imbrium) and a classic hemispherical dome. At the edge of the island will be a lunar base that visitors will teleport to, be outfitted with a spacesuit, and then exit through an airlock onto the lunar surface. Your avatar can conduct a series of missions that will explore the impact craters and volcanic landforms by climbing and flying (a jetpack is built into the space suit) over them. The goal is for visitors to MoonWorld to explore the 3-D shape and structures of these landforms to begin to understand how they formed and what the sequence of events was. It will be the closest most of us will come to being on the Moon (we will emulate 1/6 g, too) and should be fun!

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: 1.50°S, 52.36°E

Tomorrow's LPOD: People Pod


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