As scheduled, on May 14, at about 5.30AM SLT (2.30PM Paris time) The House of Astroparticule (Maison de l’Astroparticule) dedicated to the diffusion of the scientific culture, opened at EuroCampus in Second Life, exactly at the same time as the conference room was filled at APC Laboratory in Paris 7 Denis Diderot University (Paris, France), with about 70 scientists (students, experimentalists, observers and theoreticians). This whole live event was organised especially for SL, where more than 100 SL avatars attended this 2 hours event.
The mixed-reality system was set-up and operated by Sacha Quester-Séméon from i-Marginal, with laptops, mixing desks, cameras, microphones, and broadband connectivity. This system permitted to send live video from Kourou launch pad, to both APC and SecondLife (SL), and two ways live audio and video streams between APC Lab in real life and The House of Astroparticule in SecondLife. This two way communication gives the opportunity for the SL residents — wherever they are located on the globe — and attendees, to live a special sharing experience of the same event.
At the same time, somewhere in Paris, Tatiana Salomon, chief architect of EuroCampus, Natacha Salomon and Mathieu Bertolo were welcoming the SL residents. Among them, many Americans, despite the early time, as Jeffrey Corbin aka Zazen Manbi, one of the leader of SciLands, a mini-continent and user community devoted exclusively to science and technology (were are NOAA, Mars Institute, the National Space Agency, the International Spaceflight Museum, and NASA islands, the agency contribute also to Planck project in RL).
This historic moment began at APC with some presentations around Planck and its mission to study the birth of the Universe, from Etienne Parizot, Astrophysicist, Professor at Paris 7, (APC lab, Head of the High Energy Astrophysics group), Pierre Binetruy (APC director), Sébastien Fromenteau, PhD student on Planck, (APC Cosmology group), Gaël Roubier, an other PhD student, and Jean-Christophe Hamilton, CNRS researcher, cosmologist (APC Cosmology group).
Few minutes before the launch, as attention was growing tightly, we had a phone call from Éric Bréelle, an APC team member at Kourou (Guyana), describing the atmosphere there, as well as some SMS from Yannick Giraud-Héraud, Head of APC Cosmology Group, and Michel Piat (Instrument Scientist HFI Planck, APC). We were definitely ‘in’! For 170 attendes, a presence in 3 worlds at the same time: in Kourou (video), in APC (conf. room) and in The House of Astroparticule (SL on our Macs), with mixed interactions between those 3. Just amazing!
Then came the launch time, minus 10 seconds… As the countdown to lift-off started, we could hear a collective intake of breath. Silence. Smoke in the starting blocks. And then lift-off… a perfect Ariane 5 mission for Planck and Herschel. Jitters and joy at rocket launch, applause and viva inworld and APC.
Europe’s telescopes were blasted into space to help unlock some of the secrets of the Universe… As astrophysicist Peter Hargrave put it: “There’s was 85% chance of success. But that still means there was 15% chance that 15 years of your life will go up in smoke”.
Half an hour after lift-off, and the small - but crucial - matter of the separation of the two satellites from the rocket, all SL attendees in The House of Astroparticule went to the Planck Room (Emileigh Starbrook creation), where they discovered the 3D replica of the satellite evolving “in its space”, with interactive sequences to see its functioning, a virtual replica “life-size” of the Planck satellite and some panels of information.
Some more presentations carry on at APC, while the SL visitors went back in the conference room and also in the beautiful amphitheatre of EuroCampus. Then it was time for Champagne! For both, in real life and in the Second one!
As project lead, the i-Marginal team coordinated the multiplex, as well as the inworld community management, providing all the human and technical needs and expertise. This kind of organization for cultural or scientific event, e-learning, or workshop, is a unique way to make enhanced experiences.
The creation of the whole Eurocampus is directed by Tatiana F. Salomon, aka tatiana Salomon, architect, landscape painter, specialist of immaterial art, designer and producer of projects.
See also on SL Blog: Satellite Launch - in RL and SL
Photo review of the openning of The House of Astroparticule (APC Laboratory) at Eurocampus in Second Life.
The Ariane 5 launch:
See the Press feedback on diigo.