Cosmic evolution exists as a process with multiple outcomes. For example, this process can lead to new planets, stars, or galaxies. The result of these outcomes produce what we might call the "physical universe," a magnificently complex and mysterious place. In addition, cosmic evolution may result in a profusion of life, sentience, and development. These outcomes may manifest themselves at a single or multiple points in the complex and mysterious place known as the physical universe. This outcome, the purpose of astro-biology programs around the world, generates what could be called a "biological universe." Finally, cosmic evolution can result in the development of sentient belief systems and artistic products. These outcomes, taken together, reflect a third outcome for cosmic evolution, a "cultural universe".
The STEM-VRSE group experienced a "cosmic evolution" last Friday. Spending the day with the researchers and leaders at NASA provided the STEM-VRSE group with a greater understanding of the world and the group's potential within that world. From the first moment we stepped on the NASA campus, we began transforming our ideas for the use of virtual reality (VR) in the development of STEM research and human cognition. We recognize that many people do not trust their government or scientists. Furthermore, we recognize that NASA represents the confluence of these distrusts; however, the group's time with the dedicated people at NASA showed us how much good comes from the work of humanity in attempting to understand and bring about cosmic evolution on a daily basis.
To the people at NASA who welcomed STEM-VRSE and worked to make the day a success, we say, "Thank you and keep up the great work." To the people who follow STEM-VRSE, we ask that you keep an eye on us as we continue our cosmic evolution over the next few months. For example, Kat will be taking a research group to New Zealand in one week. This group, comprised of Kat, Dakota, Katja, and Clint, represents our first attempt to incorporate 360 technologies in research. We hope to bring back enough visual data to generate VR vignettes on reef communities off the coast of New Zealand and avian behavior of dotterels on New Zealand's beaches. In addition, we anticipate returning to NASA in the late spring to determine if our interests coincide with their needs to incorporate more VR technology in research and education outcomes.
The evolution of STEM-VRSE continues...Before we forget. We wish to give a special thanks to the following eople at NASA. Each of these people, and others we did not meet in person, made our time at NASA an enjoyable experience.
- Susanne Fox - Lunar curator,
- Lynda Gavin - Mission Control manager,
- Steve Riley - Training Facility manager,
- Kristen John - Planetary scientist, and
- Michael Evans - Planetary scientist.