Linden Lab published a new Sansar Creator Profile video on Thursday, December 21st. It’s one I had heard about some time agao, and hard started to wonder what had happened to it. Regular readers will understand why my interest had been piqued when I say that the subject of the video is LOOT Interactive, the makers of the NASA Apollo Museum experience, based on the Apollo Saturn Centre at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Centre, and the Sea of Tranquillity experience, commemorating the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
These were two of the first experiences I visited in Sansar, given my interest in space flight and space exploration. As such, I was hoping the video, once available, would delve into the creation of these two experiences and examine the collaborations between LOOT Interactive and NASA and with Linden Lab’s Sansar team which brought the experiences to fruition. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Instead, what is presented is more of a promo reel, in keeping with the other Creator Profile films released in the run-up to Sansar’s Public Beta commencing at the end of July 2017. As such, this video in some ways feels a little out-of-place.
Which should not be taken to mean the video isn’t worth watching; that promo reel bias notwithstanding, the video does a very good job in underscoring the potential of VR in markets such as education, learning and even – although not directly discussed – virtual tourism. Certainly, it explores the power of something like the NASA Apollo Museum to engage and inspire – and educate – simply by allowing people to experience an environment as personally as if they were there.
Take the Saturn 5 centre-piece for example. Being able to stand under its flank whilst in VR and look along its length brings home not only its gargantuan nature – but the sheer size of the technical and human endeavour that went into it and the entire Apollo-Saturn programme. For adults and students alike, it, and the entire experience, deeply ingrains the entire voyage of Apollo 11 to and from the Moon in a deeply personal way; one not easily matched by watching archive video footage alone or without actually visiting NASA’s Visitor Centre complex. As the LOOT team note, there is a powerful way in which this immersive engagement translates into retained understanding and knowledge one which could apply to many areas of education and learning, formal and informal.
If you’ve not visited the NASA Apollo Museum experience in Sansar – with or without VR – it is a location I recommend as being a good leaping off point to discover what can be achieved within the place even at this stage of its development. Yes, there are niggles, but these are not enough to detract from the sheer scale and depth of the experience. And if you’re not sure, perhaps this video will also help to persuade you a visit could be worthwhile.