If Pete Worden, the director of NASA's Ames Research Center has his way, a future robotic mission to the moon will take place where we can all walk or fly along with the lunar rover as it makes its way over the lunar landscape, he said in a preview of mass space exploration during the International Space Development Conference in Dallas, delivered direct from the virtual world known as Second Life.
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NASAs island in the 3-D virtual world, Second Life (an online environment where more than 5 million user-controlled avatars can interact with each other) has simulated our new Age of Exploration with floating launch pads, mini-planets, space shuttles and an international space station for the collaborative sharing of science and technology (image above is the "Rocket Garden").
Anyone who has read Arthur C. Clarke's 3001 The Final Odyssey will remember the central importance of future virtual reality environments on Earth. Similarly, NASA sees Second Life as a natural test bed for building scientifically accurate representations of other worlds, based on data flowing in from interplanetary probes.
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