2020 Raglan Shire Artwalk in Second Life

Raglan shire Artwalk 2020

Raglan Shire, Second Life’s Tiny community once again throws open its doors to people from across the grid as participating artists and visitors to the annual Raglan Shire Artwalk.

This year marks the 15th Artwalk, which opened on Sunday, May 17th, and runs through until Sunday, June 21st, 2020. The event offers an opportunity not just to appreciate a huge range of art from both the physical and digital worlds, but to also tour the Shire regions and enjoy the hospitality of the Raglan Shire community.

Raglan Shire Artwalk 2020 – Kody Meyers

A non-juried exhibition, the Artwalk is open to any artist wishing to enter, and has minimal restrictions on the type of art displayed (one of the most important being all art is in keeping with the Shire’s maturity rating). All of this means that it offers one of the richest mixes of SL art displayed within a single location in Second Life, with 2D art is displayed along the hedgerows of the Shire’s pathways and tree platforms overhead and 3D art among the community’s parks.

Each year attracts well over a hundred SL artist – and this year is no exception. The depth and range of art on display is guaranteed to keep visitors exploring the paths and walks around the through the hedgerows – and if walking proves a little much, there are always the caterpillar rides to ease the load on the feet.

Raglan Shire Artwalk 2020 – Barry Richez

Also, teleport boards are provided to help people find their way around the exhibition spaces, while balloons which offer rides around the region and through the art displays. However, given this is an opportunity to visit and appreciate Raglan Shire, I do recommend exercising your pedal extremities and doing at least some of your exploration on foot – just keep in mind people do have their homes in the regions as well.

Given the number of artists involved, there isn’t a published list of participants, but anyone interested in the world of SL art is bound to recognise some of the names of the artists here. The Artwalk is also a marvellous way to see art from both our physical and digital worlds and for catch artists both familiar and new to your eye. Just don’t try to see it all at once; the Artwalk is open for a month, which gives plenty of time for browsing and appreciating the art without feeling overloaded.

Raglan Shire Artwalk 2020

SLurl Details

All of the Raglan Shire Artwalk regions are rated General)

Space Sunday: to land on Europa

An artist’s impression of the Europa Lander. Credit: NASA

Of all the planets and moons in the solar system, the two that – next to Earth – are likely to be homes to oceans of liquid water are Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn’s Moon Enceladus. The latter, as I’ve noted in this column, has visible evidence of geysers venting water vapour around its southern polar regions, while in November 2019, the the W.M. Keck Observatory indicated they had directly detected water vapour around Europa (see here for more) – evidence that has since been added to through further study of the data gathered by NASA’s Galileo mission that ended in 2003.

Given their distance from the Sun, both of these moons are covered in shell of icy material  that is believed to encase a liquid water ocean, likely heated from within by hydrothermal vents, themselves the result of both moons being “flexed” by the gravitational influence of their parent planets and the other large moons orbiting them. And where there is water, heat and a source of energy for sustenance, there is a possibility that life may also be present – which makes both Enceladus and Europa potential destinations in the search for life beyond our own world; and of the two, Europa is somewhat “easier” to reach.

A high resolution image of Europa’s chaotic surface taken by the Galileo mission. It shows terrain where blocks of material have shifted, rotated, tilted and refrozen. Credit: NASA/JPL

To this end, and again as has been written about in this column, in 2024 NASA intends to send the Europa Clipper to the Jovian system, placing it in a orbit around Jupiter that will allow it to make repeated fly-bys of Europa, joining the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer allowing it so study the moon in detail, and characterise its surface and any ocean that might lay beneath.

However, to have a real chance of detecting any evidence of microbial life on Europa, scientists argue that a landing there is required, and as planetary scientist Conor A Nixon reminded me via Tweeter, a proposal to put a lander on the surface of Europa has been in development for over two years – although it has yet to reach the point of actually being funded. Were it to go ahead, it would – amongst other things – be the heaviest robot mission launched from Earth; so heavy, it would require either the Falcon Heavy or NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) to throw it on its way to Jupiter – with the SLS being the preferred vehicle, as it would allow the mission to reach Jupiter after just a single gravity assist from Earth, shortening the flight time.

The proposed Europa Lander mission outline, as it stood in 2018, and reviewed in 2019. Credit: NASA

The primary objectives of the mission would be to search for subsurface biosignatures; to characterise the surface and subsurface properties at the scale of the lander to support future exploration of Europa and determine the proximity of liquid water and recently erupted material near the lander’s location; and assess the habitability of Europa via in situ techniques uniquely available to a landed mission. Under current plans, last revised in 2019, the mission  – outside of this launcher – will comprise five core elements:

  • The Europa Lander: a battery-powered vehicle intended to operate on the surface of Europa for 22 terrestrial days, and carrying a suite of around 14 scientific instruments / experiments.
  • The Descent Stage (DS): to reduce the risk of contaminating / damaging the lander’s touch-down point, it will be winched down to the surface by a “sky crane” vehicle similar to the one used to put the Curiosity lander on Mars and will be used with the Perseverance rover in February 2021. Once the sky crane has done its job, the sky crane will boost itself into an orbit where it will eventually burn-up in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.
    • Together, the lander and the DS form what NASA call the Powered Descent Vehicle (PDV).
  • The De-Orbit Stage (DOS): a propulsion unit intended to slow the PDV into a decent to the surface of Europa.
    • When combined the DOS and PDV form the De-Orbit Vehicle (DOV).
  • This assembly is carried to Jupiter within the carrier stage, comprising two parts:
    • The carrier vehicle, which provides communications, power and flight management hardware and software.
    • A protective bio-barrier dome designed to protect PDV from the risk of contamination / damage during the 5-year trip to Jupiter.
The Europa Lander’s component element. Credit: NASA

Continue reading “Space Sunday: to land on Europa”

May 17th, 2020: Bay City marks 12 years in Second Life

Bay City 12th anniversary

Bay City, the first major project undertaken by the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), will be marking its twelfth anniversary on Sunday, May 17th, 2020. Citizens of Bay City and residents of Second Life are invited to join in with the celebrations, which will include the traditional parade down “Route 66,” followed by a live music event in the Bay City fairgrounds.

Opening in May of 2008 to initial viewing, with parcels being auctions throughout the city soon after, Bay City has shown itself to be one of the highlights of Second Life: a blending of Linden infrastructure and a strong, friendly community of involved residents who, together, give the area its unique charm.

Activities will kick-off at noon SLT with a parade line-up at the band shell in Bay City – Harwich. At 12:30 SLT, the parade will make its way down Route 66, and proceed to the Bay City Fairgrounds in the North Channel region. DJ GoSpeed Racer will be providing the music throughout the parade, which will be followed by at live concert from 13:30 SLT onwards at the fairgrounds.

The line-up for the concert this year comprises (all times SLT):

  • 13:30 – 14:30:  Parker Static – Parker started singing at a very early age; being in a musical family her passion for singing was inevitable. Her repertoire ranges from pop through ballads, jazz, R and B to soft rock and more. She has received numerous awards including Showtime Magazine’s TOP 10 performers in SL and  the Soul Train’s Best Female entertainer of the year.
  • 14:30 – 15:30: qqquartzzz.
  • 15:30 – 16:30: Wolfie Starfire.

Celebration goods, including parade float bases and ideas, are available at the Bay City Community Centre, in the Daley Bay region for those who wish to be a part of the parade. Ample viewing areas are provided. The music event is also open to all who desire to attend — not only Residents of Bay City

About Bay City and the Bay City Alliance

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest Bay city group, and home to most Residents of Bay City.

Each year, in honour of Bay City’s founding, Bay City residents come together with this special celebration.

Anniversary SLurls