Moon Walk in Cyberspace

Dateline: 7/28/99

Apollo13 ActiveWorlds browser
Images courtesy of Contact Consortium.

On July 20, 1999 the Contact Consortium and ActiveWorlds hosted a reenactment of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The occasion was the 30th Anniversary of that first "Giant Leap for Mankind."

The moon environment is still there as the world "MOON" on ActiveWorlds. It turned out to be a lively event. There were over 40 people wandering around most sporting various appropriate avatars such as an astronauts suit, a lunar rover, and the occasional Robbie the Robot.

One of the panels on the ActiveWorlds browser is a chat window and is where most of the action occurs. The talk seemed to mostly be about random events of the 60s and remembering where we were (for those of us old enough) when Neil Armstrong stepped out on the Moon. You can check out many of the worlds at a commemorative Web site put together by Bruce Damer.

Overall it was great fun. Upon arrival to the world you are inside a building with the lunar lander in the center. There are a variety of teleports (teleports are areas you walk into that transport you do another location in the world) surrounding the boarder of the large open area in the building.

At some point in time early on we were all told to teleport "outside" to the lunar surface. Out on the surface the lunar lander occupied center stage and the group pretty much mulled around close to it.

Looking at the lunar landerBruce Damer the primary organizer of the event at one point in the event tried to get people to line up and got someone to walk down the lunar lander ladder imitating Neil Armstrong walking down. It was funny trying to get some organization to the rabble rousing crowd.

The ambiance was complete with a few random avatars such as a Titan rocket, and people dressed in suits, various stages of casual dress. Not the usual dress for a lunar exploration but hey that's part of the fun!

The next time one of these things happens it would be cool to see more active objects, like watching the lunar lander take off or land. Of course given this is all a volunteer effort one can't get to picky.

The event lasted a few hours and turned out to be a great use of cyberspace. Reenactments of historical events take on a special flavor in virtual worlds 'cause you can take part but still have fun and not deal with everything so seriously. All in all it's a great way of commemorating history, taking part and having fun all at the same time.

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