I want to remind adults how fun it is to tap into their childlike spirits. It’s so much fun to play how you once did. Children are inventive, nothing is out of bound. I also want to encourage adults to explore new ways of play. I want to populate an imaginative space.
If any adult felt anything at all during this experience, then I want them to hold on to this.
Framing of the Experience
I envision this as an underground movement (kind fo culty) with its prime directive to adults that have lost touch with their imagination and playful selves. The experience is exclusive. You sign up, and can only be admitted to the experience through a code. It would happen once a month or so. It’s an experience where adults gather to play.
Mission ChecklistThis will come in through the NASA Communications Transmitter (email) prior to the experience.
- Read the Introductory Mission Brief and Role Assignments
- Prep for the pre-mission intros. Come prepared with a specimen you have been studying remotely.
- Familiarize yourself with the Control Center and Astrobiologist Companion interfaces
- Gather your space suit and space helmet for interspace travel
- Pre-mission training
- Run 6 marathons between now and lift-off
- Learn Russian
- Train to hold your breath for two minutes
- Memorize the Tsoilkovsky Rocket Equation, the Atmospheric Drag Equation, and Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation
- From now until launch, your diet should consist of strictly space food
- Watch Chris Hadfield’s Masterclass.
Welcome to NASA’s Astrobiology Program. I hope you received your pre-mission items and practiced in the training simulator. Congratulations team for being selected to embark on the annual mission to planet Xotera, an exoplanet that could one-day be an Alternative Earth. You are all the best in the astrobiology business. Remember, our objective is to collect data contributing to studies on whether Xotera is capable of hosting life. I am your mission CapCom. We are in the final stages of research on confirming whether Xotera is habitable. The research we gather from this mission can change the course of humankind as we know it.
You have two resources to help guide you through the mission: 1) Your Astrobiologist Mission Companion and 2) Your Control Center, which will only be used for interplanetary travel.
Yes, as experienced space explorers, you are probably aware that there’s a chance with any flight track to Xotera of being pulled toward Utu , a planet known for its strong gravitational pull, radioactive surface and hostile life forms. I know you might be feeling a bit nervous considering the current orbiting position of this planet and the recent tragic incident to Flight 301. You all probably remember, “The alien kidnapping Incident” a free years ago.
Don’t worry, we are taking extreme measures to maintain a careful distance as we travel to our target planet, Xotera.
It’s time. My best of luck to each of you.
Scene 1: Pre-mission Intros
Let’s take a moment to introduce ourselves to our team of esteemed astrobiologists. As mentioned in the pre-mission brief, I hope you are all prepared to share a recent specimen you have been studying. I have been inspecting this new microscopic organism. I have learned that this species feeds on other organisms by penetrating their cell walls and sucking their emotions out of them. Then they transmit these feelings onto their next host. A fascinating discovery. Who would like to go first?
*The group goes around sharing their recent work*
It’s time to begin our mission.
Scene 2: The Spacecraft
We begin our journey with the spacecraft selection. Due to COVID-19 measures from 2020, we are required to fly in our own rocket ship. Each of our ships will travel in a caravan with a master AI control system directing our flight path.
So first, everyone, I need you to select your spacecraft. But...Be extremely careful about selecting the space ship. This mission won’t be smooth sailing. We will need a high-tech spacecraft that is capable of navigating far distances and the dangerous path ahead. Fuel capacity and speed is a huge consideration. We need to reach our target with no pit stops and in a timely manner. Your flight path to Xotera will take you around the moon with a lunar gravity assist. Even with the slingshot, we will be traveling for months, so you may want to consider a ship with a spacious, well-furnished cabin space. We will also be traveling through asteroid belts and gravitational pulls. Consider your space craft’s traction, shields, and acceleration.
Here is my spacecraft, the X5 Space Shuttle. It’s powered by solid hydrogen and could accelerate from 0 to 16,000 in 60 seconds. It has a sleek interior, complete with entertainment and comfortable hypersleep chambers. It also has an AI assistant that will help me navigate the journey. Trust me, when I hear the words, “lift-off,” I will definitely need to hold on.
In order for our AI system to detect your spaceship, we need you to sketch out your spacecraft in the Spacecraft Input System below. Please make sure your ship’s measurements and capabilities are well-thought-out.
Guest Interactions: Guests will draw their Spaceship in the space provided
Scene 3: Spacecraft Feedback
*Improvise. Talk to the guests in this in-world environment. Ex: “Woah, Nicoletta… You have a really awesome spacecraft. That will be perfect for the mission.”*
Please provide feedback to your team’s spacecraft through the intercom chat.
Scene 4: Interplanetary travel.
4a: Launch: *change background image*
4a: Launch: *change background image*
I’m receiving word that we are a go for takeoff. Everyone, please settle into your control center. Make sure your helmet is on and secure. Be prepared for intense G forces and turbulence. As I said, we all have access to the central control system that is guiding our caravan. In your control center, look out for commands, buttons, and data that will keep us on track and communicate with the team. I will be there to assist you.
*pretend you’re getting word that it’s time for take off*
*play audio track*
What’s that? We are a go for launch. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. We have cleared the tower and are on course for Utu.
*change background image*
4b: Moon slingshot
You should have visuals of the moon now.
*change background image*
It’s time to get ready for our slingshot around the moon. Jay (name), fire your rockets for lunar orbit insertion now.
*change background image*
Interactive Moment/ Visual
Wow, perfect slingshot.
It’s time to get some shut-eye. Settle into your Hypersleep Pods and turn off your lights so I could activate hypersleep. Goodnight, and I will see you in a few months.
Interactive Moment/ Visual: The team and myself turn off their lights, which activates my LDR on the Arduino device, causing something to happen on the webpage (the webpage goes dark).
4d: Asteroid Belt
*After 30 or so seconds, sirens go off.*
Rise and shine. Let’s go, team. There’s an asteroid belt directly interfering with our flight path. We lost autopilot! Everyone, turn to your companion control center to manually maneuver the asteroids.
Interactive Moment/ Visual: The team will play Asteroids on their control center.
Scene 5: Landing Complications
Central command is reporting that we sustained damage traveling through the asteroid belt. I hate to say this, but it looks like we are now diverting from our flight path. Don’t panic. I’ll check to see where we’re headed.
*pretend to type on my computer*
I have some bad news to report. It seems we are all being pulled off course by Utu gravitational pull. I don’t think we can get back on track. We are heading straight towards the planet. We have no choice but to land on Utu. Can someone assist with the landing?
Maybe an Interactive Moment/ Visual: The group checks the mission data box. It could be a list of unreadable data on a web page. Nicoletta, can you give us coordinates for a safe landing? Jay, can you check if we have enough fuel to perform another take off from Utu? Yiru, can you at least show us how to expand our wings for landing?
No one has the information?!! This isn’t good. This might be my last moments working with you all. It’s been an honor. We went down doing what humanity has been evolved to do.
*Suspend them for a second* *Maybe I leave the Zoom?* *technical difficulties screen*
Scene 6: Utu
*I return with changed Zoom background*
Hello? Is Everyone there? Nicoletta? Can we get a headcount? Is everyone still with us?
Woah everyone looks around us. This planet is fine… Almost too fine. It seems like a paradise. We must have miscalculated. This can’t be Utu. Let me do a quick confirmation on our coordinates.
*I quickly confirm.*
Yep, this is Utu
*describe the planet*
Look at the lush forest with a pathway leading towards a stunning waterfall. These trees remind me of the ones I used to see visiting my grandparents. Can’t you see the mountains in the distance. And hear the creatures whispering in the backdrop.
I can’t believe this. For my entire life, I have been told Utu is treacherous and not suitable for life. This is not what I imagined. Why have we been told that Utu is forbidden?
There’s so much life here to explore. Right there, see. Look at this lizard creature I found! It has 6 eyes, horns, and has a tongue longer than my height. We are biologists after all, here to find breakthroughs in habitable planets. Let’s do what we do best and research life here.
Let’s each go our separate ways and find a life form, this could be a fauna, or flora. I will set up camp and inspect the damages to our ships. Once you have found your life form, carefully examine your specimen. Go through the basics. Where he/she comes from if they’re dangerous? Diet? Reproduction? How does your life form interact with others? Is your life form capable of play?
When we return we can share our notes, observations, and behaviors of our life forms and make a plan for returning to Earth . Our detailed report of Utu could prove extremely valuable for evaluating the possibility of colonizing this planet.
Scene 6: The Campfire
Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your time with your life form and have taken diligent notes.
Interactive Moment: Everyone introduces their alien/ plant/ anything they came up with.
*Punch up this experience one more notch. Maybe it’s taking a photo of the creature in its natural environment. Objects in this world because object in my imaginative world. Staging your creature in its environment using your scanning device.*
Oh, one last thing I should tell you. I have examined the ships… I’m sorry to tell you, but they are all critically damaged and all lines of communication have fallen. We are never going back. The good news is that when walking around I found food, clean water, and building materials. This place is actually incredible. I don’t know why we have been told this place is dangerous. Something is so wrong. Who knows how much has been hidden from us? I feel we’re only beginning to find out. But I will tell you this: I am excited. Tomorrow, I want to find more of these exotic lizards and walk to the waterfall. Maybe we can build a boat and sail to other regions of the planet.
Interactive Moment: *We are all here together. Let’s take a moment to list out some things we can do tomorrow.*
I’m sorry we can’t go back to how our lives once were. All we can do now is take advantage of what we have here. Find new joys and new ways to live.