Virtual Space Explorers: D-RATS Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) in Second Life

Caledonia Heron

Caledonia Heron is suited up for a Desert RATS 3-D mission in Second Life.
+ Download a guide to getting started and locating Desert RATS in Second Life (PDF)

By Caledonia Heron
July 30, 2010

(NASA Virtual News) – The view across the desert looks rocky and desolate when I gauge the track for the SEV rover. I put it in drive. The base camp tents and rovers recede as I roll out onto the terrain. I’m on my way… virtually.

Virtually? Yes, I’m suited up for a D-RATS mission in Second Life, a 3D immersive world where you can make and do most anything. The D-RATS virtual sim puts you right in the middle of role-playing NASA’s research and testing of lunar and Martian terrain vehicles. Login and you can check out the interactive portions of the SEV and then drive it around the desert. You are now a virtual space explorer!

Desert RATS in Second Life

A view of the NASA eEducation Island in Second Life, showing the Space Exploration Vehicle.

The rover yard and D-RATS are part of NASA eEducation island which is home to analog missions, spacecraft and satellites. The island hosts D-RATS and NEEMO plus an ANSMET research station, microbial mats, and black smokers. There are satellites, rockets and planes. You can ride a raindrop through the water cycle or hunt for meteorites! Teleport skyward to view and learn about the Hubble or ISS. At NASA eEd island you can learn about NASA’s missions and research while immersed in the 3D world around you.

Many people participate in NASA’s events and missions in this 3D distance learning environment. Co-located in space and time, there is a real sense of being with each other and collaborating as you work on tasks. Join us for an event or visit the summer fair to see virtual NASA at work! NASA education interests are welcome to contact the LT Technical Office to have their projects represented. The NASA eEducation island is sponsored by NASA Learning Technologies, an education technology incubator located in Second Life.

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