Sansar: a voyage to the Moon and back

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Given my interest in space exploration, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that my second Exploring Sansar article focuses on the LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum, based on the Apollo Saturn Centre at the Kennedy Space Centre. However, there is another reason for my doing so: as the Sansar Creator Beta opened, it was – and remains as of the time of writing this piece – one of the most comprehensive demonstrations of Sansar’s potential for creating standalone, easily accessible educational / historical interactive virtual spaces.

As the name states, this experience is a celebration of America’s triumph in sending men to the Moon and returning them safely to the Earth at what was the dawn of the space age. As politically motivated as it may have been, Apollo was – despite the tragedies and near-disasters which marked it – a huge triumph of humankind’s determination and technical prowess.

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Unsurprisingly, given this *is* a museum, the setting is that of a mammoth hanger-like structure dominated by the huge form of an Apollo Saturn V rocket lain upon its side. Visitors arrive in a presentation area at the “base” of the rocket where, facing the five F1 engine bells of the  S-IC first stage of the booster, is a huge video screen, used to present a film on the entire Apollo programme, from birth, through development and the horror of Apollo 1, through to the triumph of Apollo 11, and thence onwards through the remaining six missions to the Moon, together with the recovery of the near-loss of Apollo 13.

Flanking the Saturn V are two raised galleries featuring the Apollo missions with photos, mission logos and information boards. These start with the tragic loss of Apollo 1 and astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee and run down either side of the rocket, progressing through the preparatory missions leading up to the first manned lunar landing, and thence on through Apollo 17.

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Sitting either side of the nose of the Saturn V are the LEM and the CSM. These and the rocket are neatly labelled, and the Service Module is shown with a cutaway in roughly the area where the liquid oxygen tanks exploded on Apollo 13, crippling it and leading to the rescue flight around the Moon. In the well between these display areas, starting with a model of the Earth, are a pair of time lines for the Apollo 11 mission. The first covers the journey from the Earth to the Moon, with principal events indicated along the way by scale models and annotations / information panels. The other similarly documents Apollo 11’s return to Earth.

Also, on the floor of these time lines are a series of interactive circles. Stepping on these will play audio clips of conversations between Mission Control and Apollo 11, and commentary from NASA on the mission status. There are other audio elements to be discovered as you explore the museum: an extract from Kennedy’s famous speech at Rice University in September 1962, when he uttered those immortal word, “We choose to go to the Moon.” There’s also audio at the Saturn V display.

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Beneath a model of the Moon which shows the landing areas of the six Apollo missions to reach its surface, sits a teleport disk. Simply step on it to be carried 384,400 km (240,250 mi) to Mare Tranquillitatis – the Sea of Tranquillity – and to where the Apollo LEM Eagle as it sits on the Moon. Pan / look up from here while you’re exploring, and you’ll get to see one of the most heart-catching sights a human can witness: looking back across the blackness of space to the beautiful, fragile marble of Earth.

Sansar’s current status does tend to limit what can be done interactively on the platform, and this in turn limits some of the effectiveness of experiences like this. For example, it would be nice of have a finer level of control over audio; right now, it is possible to end up with different audio elements confusingly overlapping one another (I have to admit I also found the clump-clump of shoes on solid floor is also a little off-putting when walking on the Moon). It would also be nice to have more interactive elements as well; as it is, the hanging information area above the Sea of Tranquillity setting is informative, but alignment with the appropriate elements can be difficult if you move.

LOOT Interactive NASA Apollo Museum

Nevertheless, the NASA Apollo Museum is an engaging, informative and immersive experience, offering a promise of just where Sansar might lead us as features and capabilities are added.

Experience URLs

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Team Diabetes of Second Life announces third season

Team Diabetes of Second Life recently announced its third fund-raising season. Founded in 2015 by Jessi2009 Warrhol and John Brianna (Johannes1977 Resident), Team Diabetes of Second Life is the official and authorised team of the American Diabetes Association in SL. Their mission is to raise awareness, tolerance, and funds for diabetes in the virtual world of Second Life. According to the World Health Organisation in 2016 some 422 million adults in the world have diabetes and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.

The 2017 Team Diabetes of Second life season will run from October 2017 to December 2017, with the following events scheduled to take place:

  • October 13th though 31st: Scare Me Silly Shopping Event (off-season event).
  • November 1st through 30th: National Diabetes Month, featuring:
    • November 1st through 15th: The Red Hunt.
    • November 4th and 5th: Team Diabetes Kick-off – Tour de SL.
    • November 5th, 2017: Season Celebration & Bike Race.
    • November 12th, 2017: The Red Ball.
  • December 1st to 10th: Winter Showcase & Winter Art Show.
  • December 31st, 2017: Team Diabetes of Second Life’s Season Ends.

Merchant and Blogger Applications

Team Diabetes of Second Life is currently seeking designers and merchants willing to participate in their events and in helping in raising funds for the American Diabetes Association. Involvement in all events is free, all designers and merchants are asked to do is follow the donations rules provided for each event. Currently, designers and merchants can apply for:

  • Scare Me Silly application (October 13th-31st, 2017)
  • The Red Fling application (November 1st-30st, 2017)

Further event applications will be posted on the Team Diabetes of SL website in due course.

Bloggers wishing to support and cover Team diabetes of SL events are asked to complete 2017 Team Diabetes of SL Blogger’s Application.

In addition to the events mentioned above, individuals, businesses, and organisations are encouraged to hold fund-raising events in support of Team Diabetes of Second Life! The official 2017 fund-raising season tool kit will be available to the second life public on September 1, 2017, at the organisation’s office in the Non-Profit Commons, Second Life.

About the American Diabetes Association

 Established in 1940, the American Diabetes Association is working to both prevent and cure diabetes in all it forms, and to help improve the lives of all those affected by diabetes. It does this by providing objective and credible information and resources about diabetes to communities, and funding research into ways and means of both managing and curing the illness. In addition, the Association gives voice to those denied their rights as a consequence of being affected by diabetes.

About Team Diabetes of Second life

Team Diabetes of Second Life is an official and authorised fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association in Second Life. Established with the aim of raising funds in support of diabetes treatment and to raise awareness of the disease in SL, Team Diabetes of Second Life was founded by Jessi2009 Warrhol and John Brianna (Johannes1977 Resident), and is served by an advisory board comprising Eleseren Brianna, Veruca Tammas, Sandie Loxingly, Rob Fenwitch, Earth Nirvana and Dawnbeam Dreamscape, with Saiyge Lotus serving as a special advisor.

Additional Links

A further Long Journey in Second Life

Long Journey Cafe; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrLong Journey Cafe – click any image for full size

In March 2017 Caitlyn and I visited Long Journey on the advice of friends Shakespeare and Max – and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We headed back there in August after Shakespeare IM’d to say the parcel had undergone a relocation and a rebuild, and is now known as Long Journey Café.

The redesign is every bit as atmospheric and charming as the one we visited in March, which trains a tracks once again playing a role – and further shows that you don’t necessarily need an entire region, Full or Homestead, in order to make something unique and photogenic.

Long Journey Cafe; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrLong Journey Cafe

A visit begins on one of the four levels the parcel has been split into, at the terminus of a small tramway. The tram itself appears to be just arriving, and going by the camera set up close by, is the subject of a film or documentary. The tram tracks pass over a cobble surface, which provides access to a little café – one of several in the parcel – alongside of which is a set of steps leading to one of the upper levels.

This upper level road comprises a small motel, not exactly in its prime, and neighbouring cafés and eateries before it ends in a rickety looking, but quite sound, set of wooden steps and walkway raised on a wooden scaffold. These provide access to the remaining levels in the build – a railway carrying viaduct with a canal below. More little boutique café sit on platforms under the arches of the viaduct, reached by a wooden walkway running parallel to the bridge. These little eateries face an entertainment stage built out over the canal and a modest floating restaurant.

Long Journey Cafe; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrLong Journey Cafe

Follow the board walk along the canal far enough, and you’ll find steps offering a way back up to the tram level and another little street of shops, or wooden stairs making their way up the railway line. Nor is this all; a second set of steps descend from the elevated walkway, giving access to the large warehouse sitting at the northern end of the parcel, while the path around the film camera sitting at the end of the tram station can be used to reach a tattoo parlour, if you’re so inclined.

All of this is presided over by the tall figure of an Indonesian statue – although this, and many of the details in the region may not always be easily seen. On our first visit, Caitlyn and I arrived at night, with snow falling and which showed up the local lighting to good effect; it also meant we had to explore carefully in order not to miss anything. However, on a return visit, 24 hours later, the parcel was bathed in sunlight, suggesting its environment changes according to the owner’s whim or perhaps a schedule.

Long Journey Cafe; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrLong Journey Cafe

Yang (Sun2idea) has an eye for detail, and this latest iteration of Long Journey demonstrates this once again.

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