6 out-of-this-world government sites in Second Life

Teleport your avatar to one of the federal government's Second Life outposts to learn more about NASA space missions or NOAA's environmental studies.

1. NASA Virtual CoLab
The Virtual CoLab, which has a real-life counterpart, hosts avatars from NASA and other science- and space-related organizations around the world in regular meetings to collaborate on projects and share information.

2. NASA JPL Explorer Island
This is mainly an educational site for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s robotic space missions. It has included immersive experiences, such as avatars that can follow Mars Odyssey and Phoenix Lander excursions on the surface of the planet.

3. NOAA Virtual Worlds
NOAA is using this site to educate new audiences about the Earth’s environment through activities on two islands, called Meteora , which deals with the atmosphere, and Okeanos , which deals with the oceans. Users can fly a plane through a hurricane and experience events such as tsunamis or the effects of climate change.

4. Coalition Island
Air Force, Navy and Army organizations have built a continent that comprises a number of different islands that demonstrate to their virtual residents how the various services act in certain circumstances. The organizations also use Coalition Island for collaboration, simulation, prototype testing and training.

5. SciLands Virtual Continent
SciLands is a mini-continent devoted exclusively to science and technology. Several dozen organizations, including government agencies, meet to share ideas, collaborate and plan future projects.

6. CDC Island
CDC Second Life Island opened to the public in spring 2008 as an educational space to demonstrate its mission and goals, and it includes interactive features such as the ability for users to study different bacteria and diseases with microscopes. Users also can ask questions of live CDC representatives.

Did we miss any? Let us know where else your avatar hangs his virtual hat by submitting a comment below. You can find more top 10 lists in FCW's annual Federal List issue.

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