Thursday, 6 March 2008

NASA's CoLab virtual worlds

What does NASA stand for? Not Another Secondlife Announcement. The egg heads, brianiacs and boffins at NASA have decided to boldly go where no other national space agency has gone before. This weeks announcement is that NASA have launched a second life project called CoLab … as in co-laborate. It’s a virtual laboratory where space enthusiasts can meet with NASA, share their thoughts and take part in “virtual” experiments, such as landing a pod on mars or having a go with a lunar rover.

And Its GREAT!

When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon it marked two massive changes in society, obviously mankind touched its second planet, however (and far more significantly) we saw the birth of global mass media. For many, as Neil Armstrong iconicly made one small step, they were taking a huge leap into the advertisers dream, imagine 1 billion consumers all seeing the same 30 second infomercial.

Nearly 40 years on NASA are looking to pull off the same stunt. A senior NASA PR guy has said “When NASA revisits the moon in 2012 we are going to take you with us”. They hope that landing on the moon again will be a big enough event to get mass acceptance of a virtual world experience.

Ever since my RSS reader picked this news up I’ve been trying to teleport to CoLab and last night I made it all the way through to their region, I even managed to look at the thrusters on an Apollo Saturn before my PC rebooted. The important thing of note here though is that NASA are demonstrating to us a new business technique, which is the opposite of “Not Invented Here”. Its called “Proudly Found Elsewhere”. Modern brands such as Lego, BBC or Google are actively engaging with their brand consumers, and making it fun for them to participate in the production of the brands products.

This is a brilliant and really open way to share information in an interactive way and entertaining way. The fact that space travel is still so incredibly popular that it can bring down secondlife is witness that NASA is a strong global brand. Additionally it shows that NASA’s values about openness and inclusively are still high on their agenda. Nerds in space? I do hope so, and I will certainly be one of them when NASA take us back to the moon

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Elliott - a little more

London, United Kingdom
I am an architect with shed loads of familiarity in providing high profile consumer media, products and services. I conceive ideas, design and lead projects to create new consumer products. I love brainstorming ideas with marketing counterparts and creating future facing and innovative solutions. I have been responsible for high volume mass consumer market features where scale, reliability and the ability to quickly respond are of crucial importance.