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Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Now in VR

Director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks as host of the Apollo 40th anniversary celebration held at the National Air and Space Museum, Monday, July 20, 2009 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Now in VR

“Sometimes,” the Versions columnist started to type, “the universe conspires to prove some cosmic point at your expense.” It was roughly at that point that Neil DeGrasse Tyson dropped through the ceiling like a Navy SEAL and yelled, “THAT IS NOT HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS, DAVID,” and treated everyone in a 30-kilometre radius to an A+ display of professional pedantry. In case you haven’t heard: Neil DeGrasse Tyson is not big on poetic license.

Okay, I’ll come clean: Not all of that scenario actually happened. I did indeed start writing that sentence, but my ceiling remains intact. (And, if fact checkers are reading this, I will stand by my claim that the man is opposed to poetic license.) But hear me out! Yesterday, in this same space, I wrote that NASA, in the name of science, was making a grown-up VR project that was a little bit boring. Never one to let science get boring without his help, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now fronting his own VR project. Is that the universe conspiring to prove a cosmic point? You be the judge!

Anyhow, here’s the gist of the story from The Next Web:

In the wake of the utterly disappointing release of Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, renowned astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is working on a VR title that also focuses on space exploration.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey promises to offer an immersive educational experience in VR, along with Minecraft-like building elements, as well as real-life physics concepts baked in.

What any of this has to do with No Man’s Sky beyond a search engine optimization ploy, we will never know, but let’s turn our attention to the “educational experience”, which promises to be a true grab bag.

To be fair, much as it’s important that NASA is making a slightly dull VR project, it’s also neat that other science educators are getting in on the act. VR needn’t be the sole purview of artistic dreamers. Bill Nye is invovled in this one, and he’s a swell guy. But the thought of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a man who has been known to, in a non-factual sense, break out in hives at the mere mention of fiction, existing in a VR universe seems like a bit too much immersion. Do you really want to buried in #actually?

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