To The Moon, Almost

Friday, May 8, 2009 Friday, May 08, 2009

We bumped a very interesting build into the other day, which is an astonishing simulation of an Apollo mission to the Moon. Not only do you get to see the life-size rocket launching, but you can also ride along as an astronaut (avanaut? astrotar? cosmatar?).

The build is still being constructed, so it is definitely not complete. The builder has quite a bit done now, but the simulation currently stops at earth orbit. Future stages will likely include a simulation of the journey between Earth and Moon, perhaps including a landing!

The journey begins by climbing the titanic Saturn V launch tower and walking across the gangway to the command module.

The door is actually sealed, so you must cam in and "sit" to take your seat. Best to wear a flight suit, but on this occasion we weren't properly equipped and took a chance that the capsule would remain air-tight during our flight.  

The rocket powers off the pad in an extremely realistic manner automatically every 60 minutes, and performs staging of the Saturn V sections just as the vehicle did in the 1970's. You can see the gangway being retracted, as well as the locking bars at the bottom release the rocket when it hits full power. Here we see the second stage just before it lit up.

Once in orbit, you are presented with simply the most marvelous scene I've ever experienced in SL: a highly realistic Earth, sliding gracefully under the ship as it sails across the planet. Oh, you must set Midnight for this to work properly. If you look closely you can make out continents and even some cities.You can see Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in this view.

The view is absolutely breathtaking, especially if using a SpaceNavigator to fly your camera around outside the ship. Like a real astronaut, I spent a lot of time simply staring out the porthole.

After several minutes spent gawking at the incredible view, the ship suddenly releases the Lunar Excursion module, stored above the third stage.

The Command/Service Module automatically rotates around and slowly docks with the LEM and extracts it from the third stage, which then falls away.

The CSM/LEM combination ship then orbits the earth. At this point the simulation seems to end, but one can imagine the obvious next step: transferring into the LEM, undocking and landing on the Moon's surface.  

I did transfer myself to the LEM, leaving Haley alone to operate the CSM, but I found the LEM incomplete. I hope she knows how to drive!

This wonderful simulation is clearly a work in progress, but I can tell you that this ride will be one of the top destinations for any SL visitor once it's completed. I cannot tell you how amazing this experience was; you just have to see it yourself. Unfortunately, I don't want to disclose its location yet so that the builder can still work on completing this amazing destination without being overrun with visitors. I'm sure it will be completed soon. 

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Grace McDunnough said...

It's not Apollo 13, is it? O.o

Tymmerie Thorne said...

OMG this is going to be so cool! I can hardly wait until it is complete. I really want to take Jerremy to it to explore!

linda said...

This was interesting.

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