For a bunch of "space geeks," the Orbiter community is pretty cool. Today I participated in an unusual memorial service that took place (virtually) on the Moon, within Orbiter itself, and which is part of the latest release of the AMSO Apollo simulator whose main author is Alain Capt, known as "ACSoft" on the Orbiter forums.
Although Alain is the main author, AMSO includes contributions from a number of other people. One of its key features is the autopilot that allows you to land safely on the Moon (it also allows some manual overrides, similar to the real Apollo autopilot software). This brilliant piece of programming was provided by Dennis Hare, known on the Orbiter forums as "LazyD." Sadly, Dennis passed away suddenly last year.
While many people expressed their sympathies at Dennis' passing in forum comments, Alain created a special tribute within the software itself. He constructed a virtual monument at the Apollo 17 Taurus-Littrow site, and provided a special scenario which uses LazyD's autopilot to land you near this site. You can then drive the Lunar Rover to the memorial and plant the US flag there. This triggers a musical and graphical tribute to Dennis, with a sort of "eternal flame" as well as several photographs of Dennis with comments about his life. I've included one of my screen shots above (you can see more here).
I personally never knew Dennis, though I would have liked to - he was close to my age and shared some of my interests such as flying, astronomy, software, and Orbiter. As Alain discusses in his notes on the tribute, I too have experienced close friendships through the internet, as he had developed in working and talking with Dennis (Alain lives in Switzerland, and Dennis lived in Lopez Island, Washington). So I know this must be a real loss for him. I would like to express my condolences to Dennis' wife and family, and to also thank Alain for remembering him in this special way, and for sharing this with the Orbiter community.