Spaced Out

Talking of Yuri Gagarin’s historic space-flight prompted me to revisit a favourite spot in Second Life, the International Spaceflight Museum. They have nicely-rendered models of various rocket-ships from around the world, including the latest Indian and Chinese models:

The big rocket second from the right is a Soviet N1, designed to take cosmonauts to the moon; unfortunately all the test flights exploded shortly after take-off, and the programme was abandoned. Next to it is an American Ares V, which was set to be the launcher for the Moonbase and Mars expeditions, but that programme was cancelled last year.

More successful Soviet craft are featured too, from the Vostok and Voskhod boosters of Gagarin’s day, to the Soyuz workhorses, and the current Proton rocket which, now the Space Shuttle has retired, is the only way to get big things up into orbit:

The Museum also has an earth-orbit exhibit, featuring the International Space Station. I felt a little exposed in my normal clothes, so I quickly scored a nice retro-style space-suit (from Aurican’s Pyramid Store), before venturing into the vacuum:

Now I had the suit it seemed a shame not to do some more space exploration. Back at my little mountainside home I quickly build a mini launch pad, and picked up a cool little space-coupé (a PS-1 Dart by PlasmaStorm Industries at Port Clarke):

My original plan was to zoom around my neighbourhood (which, incidentally, seems to have gone completely to the dogs since last time I looked, abandoned land everywhere, but that’s a topic for another day), but after a few jarring collisions, presumably with the sim borders, I gave up on that and headed into deep space.

First stop was Tranquility Base on the Moon:

Then on to see the big starships at Talmont Space Port:

Finally, some chill-out time at Inspire Space Park, where one can meditate while tumbling through the celestial sphere:

and relax in front of a nice warm fire:

Recreating outer space is perhaps the perfect use for Second Life, since the relatively featureless terrain means it all renders nice and quickly, and the characteristic lack of other people adds to the verisimilitude. I would quite like to get into some space-based role-play, but I don’t really have the time to devote to that right now. Another project to add to my list for later in the year.

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