I wrote this brief and unfinished concept document a long time ago. I thought I'd open it up because I still like the idea. The audacity of Web 2.0 at its finest. I'd love to see this happen though, so someone run with it please....
Project Moon Colony/MetaMoon
Yahoo! Brickhouse and NASA Ames Research Center propose to create an online virtual world and community based on the actual geography and physics of the earth's moon. This virtual world would be an interative, online 3-dimensional environment, with support for "massively multiplayer" interactions, and would incorporate a set of 3D data analysis tools to explore and extend existing datasets.This would would be built as an open platform, and designed inherently to be extensible and customizable .
Virtual worlds such as Second Life or World of Warcraft have become a "second" home for people as they live their daily lives. Yahoo! has very little insight on the impact and power that online virtual worlds represent. NASA is looking for an interesting opportunity to work with Yahoo! They are also very interested in virtual worlds and the wisdom of the crowds that they can represent.
In order to colonize space, many experts believe that a moon colony needs to be established first. A virtual moon colony could become one of first steps in understanding how people would interact and live in such an environment.
Context (where did this come from?)
Many people have had dreams of space travel and a moon visit. This could provide people with the ability to explore that dream. I enjoy moon science and lore as well as exploration history. I want to create an educational and entertaining environment based on the moon, its history, and its potential to colonize space.
+the potential of virtual environments for scientific data analysis and participatory exploration
Problem (what is the problem area?)
Many virtual worlds exist in a fantasy environment. Second Life is not reality based, nor is WOW or other MMOGs such as SPORE. This would provide the public with a realistic environment based on real science and actual data to interact with and participate in.
+there have been several scientifically accurate planetary data browsers created, and there have obviously been several very successful MMORPGs, but these have yet to be brought together in a meaningful way.
+separately, lack of standards and adoption of 3D immersive environments is a problem.
Prior Work/Competitors (what else is going on or has happened?)
Modern Virtual Environments
- Second Life
- Google Mars/Earth/Moon
Objectives (what are we trying to accomplish?)
- Develop a working relationship with NASA
- Create a completely new experience for the Yahoo! brand
- Build an active and sustainable virtual world based on the science of the earth's moon
- Advance the state of the art in open, extensible, collaborative, immersive, and networked virtual environments, with a particular emphasis on science.
- build support/customer base for NASA and Yahoo! products and services
- get an early foothold in a key emerging technology
- develop interactive, immersive scientific and data analysis tools with the goal of making science more accessible to more people.
- raising scientific literacy about and interest in the moon,
- building awareness and support of space exploration,
Concept Explanation (describe the idea)
Create an online virtual world community in conjunction with NASA based on the actual geography and physics of the earth's moon.
Use Cases (examples of how this will be used)
- A virtual meeting place and community
- An experimental environment for moon colonization
- Potential game or reward system for innovation and use within the environment
- An educational environment for teachers and students to study the moon and space colonization
Issues/Risks/Questions (what needs to be overcome, mitigated, answered?)
- Time. Can something be built that proves concept in a matter of months?
- Building a virtual environment compelling enough for people to visit and use
- Building a virtual world that replicates the moon and its properties
- Build a small portion of the moon first, to prove concept. Concentrate on Apollo mission landing sites or even just Apollo 11 first.
- Use open source software and environments
- Allow participants to build tools and scientific utilities for others to use to run experiements
- Consider a virtual economy to support developement
- Consider implementing two modes.
- 1. Scientific/Educational
- 2. Experimental/Entertaining