Brave Bulletin
Black Line Volume 9
June 1, 2008
No. 18
Black Line
Black Line

NASA selected UNCP virtual campus as site for Future Forum

Dr. Anthony Curtis

UNCP assisted NASA with its 50th anniversary Future Forum celebration on May 14 by providing streaming video of the celebration events to residents of Second Life (SL).

The University was one of only four sites selected by NASA to participate. Dr. Anthony Curtis (Mass Communication) was asked by the space agency to set up a conference participation site on the UNCP campus in Second Life.

Video and audio of the entire event was streamed to all of the Second Life world with opportunities for SL residents to submit questions to the panelists in the real world throughout the day.

The event was staged live in the real world at San Jose, Calif., Participants were NASA leadership, astronauts, scientists and engineers along with business, technology and academic leaders and local, state and federal officials.
New Media Center on the UNCP in SL campus
New Media Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in the virtual world Second Life

The main topic of the day was the role of space exploration in advancing science, engineering, technology, education and the economy that benefits the community and the nation. The program also featured a preview of NASAÕs Constellation Program to return America to the Moon and beyond.

The other participation sites where the video stream could be viewed in SL will be at the International Spaceflight Museum, NASA JPLÕs Explorer Island, and NASA Ames CoLab.

A NASA representative visited the campus in SL on April 28 and selected an outdoor site ordinarily set up for seminars on the grass lawn behind the classroom building on main campus level 1. Dr. Curtis erected a pair of large video screens there for easy viewing. The NASA Future Forum agenda for the day and general instructions were available at the site.

NASA hosted this series of mixed reality forums to discuss its future as part of its 50th anniversary commemoration. The space agency was founded Oct. 1, 1958.

The event was part of a year-long series of NASA outreach events to discuss the role of space exploration in advancing science, engineering, technology, education and the economy. The program built on the agency's collaborative efforts in virtual worlds, and featured a preview of NASA's Constellation program.

Speakers included NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim, STS-122 Mission Specialist; James Norman, Director of NASA's Constellation Systems Division; Peter Friess, President, San Diego's Tech Museum of Innovation; and Shana Dale, NASA deputy administrator.

Dale was in the virtual world to deliver her part of the event as her avatar Xena Dahl in Second Life. Her presentation was simulcast in the real world on NASA TV at 8:30 a.m.

Second Life is a virtual world developed on the Internet by Linden Research, Inc. of San Francisco. A free downloadable viewer enables residents to interact with each other through avatars, providing an advanced level of social networking. Residents explore, meet other residents, participate in individual and group activities, undertake manufacturing and commercial wholesale and retail activities, and create and trade their virtual property and services. Most of the 14 million residents participate via free membership.

Dr. Curtis constructed and oversees the UNCP virtual campus facility in Second Life.

Expert panels discussed Unleashing the Power of Technology and Creativity, Pushing the Limits of Knowledge to Inspire a New Generation, and Building Idea Factories for the Future.

Panelists included: Dr. Jim Garvin, Chief Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Dr. Darlene Lim, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute; Dr. Peter Vitousek, Carnegie Institute, Stanford University; Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer, SETI Institute; Dr. Steven Beckwith, vice president for research and graduate studies, University of California, and director eEmeritus, Space Telescope Science Institute; Dr. Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator, NASA Office of Education; Dr. Mike Wiskerchen, director, California Space Grant Consortium; Diane DemÌce-Benoit, director, Innovation in Education Project, Commonwealth Club of California; Peter Levy, director of strategic development, Curriki; Kristin Hilf, vice president of community relations, Raytheon; Doug A. Comstock, director of NASA Innovative Partnerships Program; Sourabh Satish, architect and engineer, Symantec Research Labs; James T. Ryder, vice president, Advanced Technology Center, Lockheed-Martin Space Systems; Liam Kiely, vice president, engineering, converged data networks, Nortel; and R. Joseph Cassady, director of business development, emerging exploration technologies, Aerojet.

More about the UNCP campus in the 3D virtual-reality world Second Life