*Pic: Starfarer, Kim Peart’s avatar in Second Life, views the Earth from our torus space station.

Some years ago I developed a space with Frank White in Second Life, in the South Arm of our torus space station, with a view out to a revolving Earth, where we have been holding weekly meetings. Anyone is welcome to attend, to discuss space related matters. When the more advanced form of Second Life opens next year, we will be investigating to see how we can create an even better impression of the overview in a virtual world. There will be many new building techniques to learn. Who likes an adventure?

Frank White is the author of a well-known work on space philosophy, called ~ The Overview Effect ~ first published in 1987 and now in its third edition. The book includes many interviews with astronauts. [1]

What if there was a way to gain a more realistic experience of the overview? Here is a nine step plan to do that.

STEP ONE ~ Form a team of ten to set up a virtual world project, which could have displays and shops at ground, and space builds in the space above. This could begin in Second Life, which is the most advanced of the virtual worlds. A group leader can be voted, and a deputy. Weekly meetings of one hour can be held to discuss matters of concern and interest to the crew. Conversations can be typed, and the transcript shared by Email with team members. There will be costs involved to run a virtual world project. The team can share the costs (rich patrons are hard to come by).

STEP TWO ~ When the first team is working smoothly, a second team can form, begun by 2 members from the first team. Sixteen teams can form a village of 160 citizens. The best size for a community is 100 to 250 people. [2] Village meetings could happen monthly. The village could be run by the team leaders. The village could work toward supporting research and development, and driving investment toward building a space city. Each citizen would be engaged in a real space mission.

STEP THREE ~ When the first village is working smoothly, the next village can begin with a new team of ten, which grows team by team, as with the first village. Any number of villages could form in a virtual world, all working on the mission to secure the overview from space. How many citizens would be needed to make this plan work, to build a stairway to the stars? It would all depend on how much each team and each village can achieve. It would be a most amazing campaign if ten million people could become engaged with the mission. That should do it.

STEP FOUR ~ Many people have, or will soon have, VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. [3] VR headsets cannot be used in Second Life, but will in the more advanced form of Second Life, called Project Sansar, which opens next year. VR headsets will allow an immersive experience of the virtual world, which is about to get a whole lot more advanced. Meetings may need to be with the computer screen and keyboard, to type the conversation. With VR headsets, it will be possible to create a more realistic experience of the overview, as if in space, gazing out at the Earth, the Moon and the stars.

STEP FIVE ~ Citizens can work with robots in the virtual world. VR headsets can also be used in real life, to see through the eyes of a robot, and when robot hands are available, use the robot’s hands with a remote control system. In this way, hands-on projects can begin in real life as well. What could happen next?

STEP SIX ~ Work toward sending mini-robots into space. Using a VR headset, it will be possible for every citizen to gain an experience of space from Earth. With mini robots, the cost of space will be less. How small could a mini-robot be that works in space? The mini-robot could even be located in a small torus space station, a model of the human scale space station to be built, which could rotate to provide a gravity for the mini-robots.

STEP SEVEN ~ Work toward building the first space city, where people can live. [4] The work of building can begin with mini-robots. Citizens can be living in a space environment protected from radiation and with gravity generated by rotation. Using VR headsets, citizens would be able to work in space via robots using remote control systems, and on the Moon, and with asteroids, fetching resources for the factories, refining designs and directing production.

STEP EIGHT ~ Visitors to the space hotel would be accessing the best shopping in the Solar System, be able to float in space and walk on the Moon. Running the space hotel will help pay the bills, and provide many happy visitors from Earth with an overview experience. Anyone for zero-G tennis? The swimming pool in the hub will be the greatest fun beyond Earth, with air in the middle and water all around. Who would like a dip in space, in a micro-gravity swimming pool?

STEP NINE ~ Back to Earth now and to wonder how to make this happen. It could be the biggest kick-starter in the history of the Universe. Who would like to help make that happen? Who would like to participate? All the preparation work has been done. We have a plan. It’s a numbers game now: the number of people on Earth willing and keen to deliver a hotel in space? A virtual world global campaign platform can be the way to make this happen, where working models of the planned future in space can be built and tested, where each citizen can own an apartment in a virtual orbital space settlement, just like the one that they can one day own in space. If ten million people were inspired to join this mission, that day could be very soon.

I guess every university down below (that’s on Earth) would like office and lab space in our space station. Maybe they will join the virtual world global campaign platform now, to help make it all happen, and quietly make academic studies on how citizens on Earth used the virtual worlds to create a future in space. Who would like an adventure? Suggestions welcomed.

PS: This is also the way to begin exploring the stars.

Enquiries ~ SpacePioneersGrid@iinet.net.au


[1] The Overview Effect

A film of the Overview on Vimeo ~

[2] Dunbar’s Number

[3] Oculus Rift

[4] Cities in space ~

Stanford Torus

Bernal Sphere

O’Neill Cylinder

Space Habitat in an asteroid ~
Living in Space – The Asteroid Bubbleworld
Fragomatik film

Habitat 2
Fragomatik film