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Second Life takes you to the moon (almost)

Tateru Nino

Tucked away on one side of the Space Frontier Sandbox in Second Life is a reproduction Saturn V , apparently to scale, at rest on the launch-pad and serviced by the customary gantry. The individual pieces are made by different Second Life users, but the combined work is that of one Wicked Quasimodo, who has turned it into a very authentic-seeming launch, flight and (eventually) moon-landing simulation.

A HUD object provided on the launch pad provides all the NASA ambience that you'd expect from a detailed simulation. While still a work-in-progress, and with a few little glitches, it remains a very atmospheric experience.

The launch takes place at almost exactly 32 minutes after the hour every hour, but there are only a few seats inside the crew capsule, so you'll want to be a little early (the gantry begins retracting at about 27 minutes past). Definitely grab the HUD -- the audio from the Apollo 11 mission really adds to the experience.

Once you're sitting, let the simulation handle your camera (just hit the escape key a few times), and it will furnish you with some decent views. Don't be in any rush, however. The simulation takes a while (though not nearly as long as the real thing). Being that it's still under construction, you'll see a bit of scaffolding and some work platforms in the simulation, but don't let that bother you.

In its current state, it only seems to go as far as docking with the Lunar Excursion Module, but it's still definitely something to see.

Are you a part of the most widely-known collaborative virtual environment or keeping a close eye on it? Massively's Second Life coverage keeps you in the loop.

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