To Mars and Beyond

I am speaking at a NASA Workshop in a few weeks. I am going to be co-presenting with Cathy Arreguin, SL: Mari Asturias. Mary has done work with San Diego State University, and many other virtual world projects at the university level. We are speaking during the “We all get to go” track at the workshop. We will be talking about distance learning, collaboration and communications as they relate to students in virtual worlds.

We have terraformed a plot of land on the PacRimX Island to look like Mars (I hope it passes the rocket scientist test). The students will be building out a Mars colony over the next two weeks for us to use in our presentation. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Here’s the initial plot of land for this project:

I put up a large screen enclosure around the area and applied a transparent effect to make it look like a cloudy sky. This keeps it from looking too closed in, and lets some of the rest of the island leak through for an interesting effect. As an example of spontaneous nature of this environment, a student logged in while I was setting up this plot of land. She wanted to know what I was doing, what this was for, and if there was anything she would help with. I gave her all the details and told her to talk with her teacher in the morning for more info. Here she is in her traditional Japanese outfit that she got during the Festival of Ages celebration last month on the island:

I’ll post some more pictures online as we go through the next two weeks working up to the workshop. It should be a fun project.

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