Does Second Life hold the key to the future of space exploration?

\n

\nNASA is experimenting with Second Life as a platform for broader collaboration on the future of space exploration. The space agency has already created a virtual island in Second Life and is now conducting regular meetings involving avatars in Second Life:


"NASA officials say their island in Second Life could hold a key to the future of space exploration in real life. The\nagency is using the virtual world as part of CoLab, an initiative that\nbrings together a diverse group of NASA employees, business leaders,\nsoftware programmers and individuals outside the traditional space\ncommunity. The goal is to create a collaborative space where people\nworking in different areas can "interact and cross-fertilize ideas..."

Through CoLab, software experts are also working to\ncreate open-source software called CosmosCode that NASA can use in its\nprojects. Eventually, CoLab leaders plan to build a real-world facility\nin San Francisco where interested parties can collaborate with NASA."

In addition to increasing the collaboration between members of the space exploration research community, the Second Life initiative is viewed as a way to increase the agency's transparency to the public. Apparently, participants in the weekly NASA staff meetings range from NASA employees and\nother space professionals to Second Life novices who stumble on the\nNASA island! (This might be stating the obvious, but let's just hope that we don't wake up in a few years from now and find out that the U.S. space program has been secretly infiltrated by a bunch of cyber-terrorists.)

\n\n

[image: NASA CoLab]

\n
Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less