Exploring Space Virtually: NASA and the Blue Mars Project
June 23, 2008
In January 2008 NASA hosted a forward-looking conference (http://amesevents.arc.nasa.gov/virtual-worlds/) in order to explore future uses of the virtual world space. Part of the vision is to engage the public as real-time participants in NASA’s historic moments of exploration in the spirit of “We all get to go”.
Just as Neil Armstrong’s first moon landing was the defining moment for television, it is envisioned that coming NASA historic events will be the defining moment for virtual world technologies.
NASA incorporates virtual world developers and educators as core components of these efforts. Virtual Space Entertainment, Inc. (VSE) will present their project “Blue Mars 2150?, a massively multiplayer virtual world (http://www.virtualspaceentertainment.com/). Launching in late 2008, Blue Mars 2150 will be the first high definition, real time virtual world.
As part of its proposal to NASA, VSE is envisioning a Mars Spaceport complex and a NASA Pavillion. At the heart of the NASA Pavillion will be two elaborate virtual experiences. The first would be a virtual simulation of the first manned mission to Mars and the
establishment of a settlement on the surface of Mars. The second set of missions would take the user through NASA’s Return to the Moon program where users will plan and participate in Moon landings.
VSE is proposing to design a final product that will allow millions of people from around the world to experience our return to space as if they were part of the mission crews themselves.
Within the virtual venue users would also be able to visit a series of museum exhibits detailing the history of US spaceflight, and climb into all of the manned spacecraft from Gemini up through interplanetary Mars craft prototypes. Visitors would virtually relive the pioneering days of NASA’s manned space program by interactively experiencing a select number of these historic missions.
Join us for an investigation into the uses of virtual worlds for education and remote exploration. Get an advance look at how the future of space exploration will be experienced – through virtual worlds.
Richard Childers is the CEO of Virtual Space Entertainment and creative lead for Blue Mars 2150 project.
For over twenty-five years, Richard has led digital production teams, producing animation, interactive CD ROMs, software, games, web sites, and books. Richard developed three-dimensional visualizations for mass transit systems in
Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Vancouver as well as design studies for the National Science Foundation’s new Ahmudsen South Pole Station. In 1991 he organized the acclaimed computer graphic symposium and exhibition, Infinite
Illusions at the Smithsonian Institution.
From 1993 to 1998, he was President and CEO of Computer Visualizations, Inc., a multimedia publishing/production company he founded and grew to sales of over $2 million. He has recruited, trained, and motivated teams of up to
40 designers, producing over 25 finished commercial projects. His books have been published by Random House and Stewart, Tabori, & Chang. Over the years, he has won 11 major design awards including the Communication Arts
Gold Medal and the I-Magic Platinum award. Prior to founding Virtual Space Entertainment, Inc., Richard served as the Assistant to the President, Special Projects at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Shortly after this SIG meeting, in Aug. 2008 Avatar Reality (http://www.avatar-reality.com/) added Virtual Space Entertainment as Blue Mars Developer (see story at: http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2008/08/avatar-reality.html). Blue Mars as a virtual world platform is now accepting applications to their limited beta at http://www.bluemarsonline.com/.
Meanwhile, NASA announced intention to pursue partners for their planned mmog we discussed at this SIG meeting in November, 2008 (http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2008/11/nasa-picks-virtual-heroes-and-whitecard-for-mmo.html) and announced agreements with these partners on March 20, 2009 (read more at: http://www.virtualworldsnews.com/2009/03/nasa-officially-announces-astronaut-mmo-working-with-educators-for-content.html ).
These developer partners were named as Project Whitecard (http://www.projectwhitecard.com/), Virtual Heroes (http://www.virtualheroes.com/index.asp), and Information in Place, Inc. (http://www.informationinplace.com/).
We look forward to the experiences and services each of these developers and platforms will bring to the virtual world space in coming months!