MoonWorld - Virtual World for Inquiry and Planetary Geology Field Work

MoonWorld in Second Life - - is a space themed virtual field trip style game encouraging the study of rocks and geology. It provides a lunar simulation in a 3D virtual environment and was funded by NASA. The instructional goals include using evidence gathering and analysis to understand how impact craters form and how their spatial relations with other landforms permit development of a stratigraphy and history. This educational and training project is conceptualized by the Center for Educational Technologies and developed by Avatrian. 

Video footage from MoonWorld

MoonWorld Missions

The MoonWorld region in Second Life can be accessed by setting up a mission on the Calendar at the Web Portal at

A team name, team leader avatar name and a team code are chosen. This then provides a URL to which extra team members can be added.  Up to 4 members make up a surface team. Also provided is the URL to go to the mission prep area when its time for your mission.

The web portal also provides access to a teleport URL to go to the MoonWorld prep area when its time for your mission, search to find a team leader or member (by avatar name) or team name.

Getting Ready for Your Mission

Your team leader will be able to assist you, but if you want to read up a little on your mission and the equipment you will use, see this MoonWorld Guide to Starting a Mission (PDF Format).

MoonWorld in Second Life and OpenSim uses special themes to simulate the lunar environment. The themes create a black sky with stars, sun, earth, and other celestial bodies, as well as, removing the waves that lap around our island. For details for PC and Mac users see:

Welcome on board! There are few quick things which Moon explorers can do to set up...

  1. Get the latest SL viewer (3.2.5 as at January 2012) and give it a run as the interface may be quite different if you have not used it for a while.
  2. If you have not used viewer 2 or 3, go into the outfits window (the icon looks like a shirt) and "save" your outfit.  That will help you get back to how you look now.
  3. Install the MoonWorld theme - when SL viewer is NOT running. Its just two .xml files. Instructions for PC and Mac users above.
  4. Then go into the SL viewer and activate those in the environment editor ahead of the mission time.
  5. Make sure you have media set to automatically play (that's the default).
  6. You might want to check the "Draw Distance" setting in Preferences for the Graphics under the Advanced Tab. Set it to at least 128m and up to 256m to let you see right across the region.
  7. Remember how to snap images in the SL viewer - ctrl ' does the job as a keyboard short cut.
  8. To get nice pictures it is useful if you know how to move your camera separate to moving your avatar. Some guidance on this is at

The team leader will register your avatar for the mission, or provide a link and team code to allow you to do that yourself. An e-mail will be sent to you with an access SLURL when the lander becomes available at the very start of the time slot. Then we will take it from there.  A mission can last 2 hours. I am not sure we will want to continue right through the mission sample points and lab analysis.  But we will go as far as we wish and then return to the lander.

During the mission, it is wise to stay close together as a team and not go ahead to later exploration stations.  That way everyone can stay in sync.

Sample Mission

Our aim will be to understand something of the way the crater we will land near was formed.  We will have access to head up displays, videos from mission control, and rock guides as we go along.

During the mission, it is wise to stay close together as a team and not go ahead to later exploration stations.  That way everyone can stay in sync.

Useful Links

MoonWorld Project Close Out Report

A copy of the final report of the CET MoonWorld Project titled "Virtual World for Inquiry and Planetary Geology Field Work - MoonWorld" dated April 2012 is available at [local copy: here].