Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

Opportunity 2: MoonWorld–Authentic Lunar Geology Fieldwork in a Virtual World

Date Posted: 3/23/2011

Feel like putting on a spacesuit and gamboling in one-sixth gravity across the surface of the Moon? With the MoonWorld virtual environment you can do just that.

In MoonWorld students through their avatars play lunar geologists conducting a lunar field research inquiry. They drive a rover across the surface of the Moon, closely observing the terrain, collecting samples, and taking measurements to figure out the Moon’s history. When they return to the lunar base, they synthesize their data and control the life support system to pump enough water, air, and food.

MoonWorld is based on actual lunar landscapes; NASA spacesuits; base, rover, and life support concepts; and mission objectives consistent with field exploration. Learners guide their spacesuited avatars to walk through the world, interacting with it and other avatars, while learning lunar science through virtual fieldwork. In particular, students build their geology knowledge by focusing on stratigraphy, the study of characteristics, formation, composition, and sequence of rock layers.

You can’t duplicate these immersive virtual worlds in a classroom or with a normal website. That’s why MoonWorld is a new approach to experiential learning funded by NASA.

During a MoonWorld mission:
  • Teams of four astronaut explorers work together on the surface of a lunar landscape based upon the Timocharis region of the Earth’s Moon.
  • Explorers navigate to 16 field stations where they collect samples, record field observations, and conduct field measurements.
  • Explorers drill a 5 km core sample to explore changes in layer characteristics.
  • Explorers return to the Moon base research station to analyze and synthesize the rock samples and their observations to deduce the history of the region.
Both students (ages 9 and up) and adults are welcome to visit MoonWorld. Educators can register a group of students for MoonWorld, which is maintained on our private server to guarantee a safe environment.

Watch MoonWorld on YouTube

  • Watch the West Virginia Pubic Broadcasting MoonWorld feature on YouTube.
  • Watch the MoonWorld machinima produced by fifth and sixth grade science students in the German International School in Indonesia.
  • Watch NASA Education EdLine News Feature.
  • Check out MoonWorld on Daniel Voyager's blog on the top 15 favorite space exploration places in Second Life.
Contact to learn more about MoonWorld or reserve missions for your students.