Balloon-powered Spaceship Neptune promises a luxurious way to tour outer space

Many private companies are working hard to make space travel more economical as well as more profitable. The latter could involve not just commutes but, more importantly, “space tourism.” To make that possible, however, rockets have to be reusable instead of being obliterated on reentry. Either that or spacecraft could take off on a runway the same way that airplanes do. Another option that’s starting to attract interest uses a style of flying that predates airplanes, relying on a gigantic balloon to lift people into the upper layers of our atmosphere. It may sound almost archaic, but the passenger capsule for one such spacecraft could very well be the most extravagant way to hold a cocktail party in outer space.

Designer: Of My Imagination

Of course, the balloon that will carry Space Perspective’s Neptune spacecraft won’t be the same hot air balloons you’ll see in the sky. A huge high-performance hydrogen balloon will have enough lifting power and enough durability to safely bring people to the outer edges of our planet for a relaxing outer space tour. And when it’s time to return to terra firma, the most advanced parachutes promise the same safety when landing down in the ocean.

While a balloon flight sounds almost boring compared to the adrenaline rush of a rocket launch, one look inside the newly-revealed capsule shows just how different it is from what the likes of Space X and Blue Origin have in mind so far when talking about space tourism. While these two want to offer an adventure similar to a roller coaster ride with some Zero-G moments, Space Perspective wants to create an atmosphere that is more chill, more educational, and perhaps even more memorable.

The Spaceship Neptune’s pressurized passenger capsule looks more like a compact cruise ship cabin than a rocket or plane. The spherical shape of the capsule offers more headroom for more comfortable viewing of the Earth and space through large windows. The seats definitely look more elegant than typical rocket seats, with holders for drinks even. And where do those drinks come from? Why from the bar in the back, of course! And before you ask, yes, there’s a restroom for those who can’t hold their liquids well.

The exterior of the capsule has also been redesigned to look more refined and also be safer. Below the sphere is a splash cone that will help ensure a softer water landing as much as possible. The complete form almost looks like a miniature balloon, so that the Spaceship Neptune and its hydrogen balloon look like two siblings in ascent, presuming you can actually see it from the side in outer space.

Space Perspective definitely offers a different perspective (pun intended) on how to enjoy space tours. A balloon’s slower ascent, longer time at its apex, and controlled descent offer a more relaxed and perhaps safer environment for appreciating our planet and learning more about it. True, it doesn’t have the thrilling zero gravity experience that many crave, but that’s easier to replicate on Earth than lounging in peace in outer space.

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The MARS Project ONE is a $9,000 Watch That Tells The Time on Earth and Mars

The $9,125 MARS Project ONE Dual Time Zone Watch from Behrens tells the time simultaneously in two different time zones: one on Earth and one on Mars. You know, because it’s always important to know if you’re going to be late for a Martian meeting.

The 42mm watch uses a Swiss Cal.2824 automatic wind movement for its basic time-telling, with rotating Earth and Mars globes on top and bands that show each planet’s timezones. The current date is displayed in the middle, with the day of the week on Each planet shown beneath the globes and the time on each planet underneath that. Of course, it’s hard to tell what part of Mars you’re actually looking at, considering the whole planet looks like a uniform rust ball.

Don’t have $9,000 to spend on a watch just so you can tell what time it is on Mars? Then do what I do and just don’t care what time it is on Mars. What good have those Martians with their big heads and buggy eyes ever done for us anyway?! I bet they’re going to invade – you just wait.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Inflatable Moon habitat complete with minilab and living space for two astronauts is ready for the future

Exploration of the moon is a global endeavor; every nation in some way or the other is involved in chalking out transportation modes to reach the celestial wonder. As an idea for the future, conceptual artist Jakub Pietryszyn has created an interesting concept of an expandable and inflatable Moon habitat.

The idea of a Moon habitat has been tinkered with by a few speculative designers/space architects in the past. One such concept that instantly strikes the mind is the origami-style tent for the moon. Whether you want to someday shift with your family and friends to the Moon and set up a solar-powered village there or you wish to sit back on the couch (on Earth) and inhabit the Moon in VR; all sorts of ideas are sprouting up by the day.

Designer: Jakub Pietryszyn

To that accord, this concept of a Moon habitat called BLOMPOD is not outright novel, but substantially elating. The idea of Pietryszyn’s minimalistic module is designed to be effortlessly transported to the Moon and once it has landed, it can then easily and instantly expand. Conceptualized for an upcoming space mission, the expandable and inflatable Moon pod can be unloaded with help of two rovers. When installed, the BLOMPOD – as the same suggests – begins to blossom. The fully-inflated surface of the pod is covered in Moon sand, while the well-protected, life-sustaining inner core houses the living area.

The BLOMPOD can accommodate at least two astronauts comfortably and fully inflated, it can also make room for various activities and programs onboard. From the designer’s vision, the base shield of this Moon habitat is made using regolith mixed with cement; the outer surface on the other hand features a regolith surface coated with Moon sand for protection against celestial radiation and other elements.

For the usage of space provided by the two shield layers, astronauts get a workspace equipped with minilabs laid out with computers and other equipment for on-site exploration and research within the outer core. The inner core is reserved for astronauts’ privacy wherein lies a sleeping area with a pair of beds, storage, a toilet with shower, and a kitchen beside a workout and social activity area. A complete living and working space for Moon exploration, the BLOMPOD as we said, is an exciting concept for the future!

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The Astronaut Rabbit Side Table/Tissue Holder Is a Real Product That Exists

The day has finally come: the astronaut rabbit butler side table/tissue holder we’ve all been waiting for is finally available for sale! And to think of all the sleepless nights I’ve had to endure just waiting for it. I’ll be sleeping like a baby bunny tonight, that’s for sure.

The table is manufactured by WRNM, available on Amazon (affiliate link) in green, orange, grey, and white, and comes in two sizes: 28″ tall, and 35″ tall. Obviously, rabbit astronaut side tables are definitely a go-big-or-go-home situation, so you better buy the larger version. The astrobunny’s helmet also holds a box of tissues, that way you can wipe all your tears of joy for finally acquiring your dream side table.

I don’t know about you, but I just bought two – one for each side of the sofa. That way there will always be an astronaut rabbit side table within reach. Unless I’m sitting on the middle cushion, which is why I actually just bought three. The cover of Metropolitan Home, here I come!

[via DudeIWantThat]

$120,000 Boba Fett Watch Costs One Serious Bounty

Inspired by everyone’s first or second favorite bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe (depending on whether you prefer the Mandalorian or are a weirdo and favor Greedo), Kross Studio has created this $120,000 Boba Fett-themed watch. Boba’s Slave One starship is featured in the center of the tourbillon and slowly rotates, while the hour hand features a tiny replica of his Z-6 jetpack, and the minute hand is the jetpack’s rocket-firing missile.

The watch is a limited edition of only ten pieces, each of which took 220 parts and 90 hours to construct. For reference, that’s $545.45 per watch part or $1,333.33 per hour of construction. So it’s ridiculously expensive no matter how you look at it. But it does come with three interchangeable watch bands and a collector’s case made from the same mold as the model used in The Empire Strikes Back, which totally makes up for it.

Sure, there are a lot of different ways to spend $120,000. But is there any better way than on a luxury Boba Fett watch? I suppose that depends on who you ask. But if you ask me, there isn’t. Of course, I also spent last month’s rent on a LEGO Transformer, so I might not exactly be the voice of reason.

[via Nerdist]

5-Foot Tall Glow-in-the-Dark Alien Garden Statue: They Are Among Us

Because no garden is complete without a life-size alien visitor creeping amongst the rose bushes, King’s Bay produces and sells this 5-foot tall Area 51 Glow In The Dark Alien Garden Statue (affiliate link). The out-of-this-world visitor is made from cast aluminum and painted with glow-in-the-dark paint to really stand out after the sun goes down. And, just like an alien once told me, “The nighttime is the right time.” That’s when I hit it in the back of the head with a shovel!

With its stand, the alien measures approximately 64″ tall, 22″ wide, and 15″ deep and is sure to have my neighbors calling the local news channel to report an alien sighting. They aren’t the brightest lights in the neighborhood, but they do love a good conspiracy theory.

Don’t have the $1500 to spend on this particular alien statue? No worries, just make your own papier-mâché version as I did and cover it with a can of glow-in-the-dark spray paint. Sure it pretty much melted after the first rain, but now I have an alien ZOMBIE garden statue, and can you really put a price on that? Because my homeowner’s association thought it was worthy of an $85 fine.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Borg Cube and Picard Plushies Must Be Assimilated

Because Kidrobot refuses to stop taking my money, the toy company is releasing a $50 combo plushie pack featuring an LED-lit Borg Cube and Locutus of Borg (the Borg designation for Captain Jean-Luc Picard after his assimilation in 2366). Obviously, these will be perfect for cuddling during a weekend-long Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon.

The Borg Cube features LED lights that glow green when turned on to “create the perfect ambiance for assimilation.” I didn’t know there was a perfect ambiance for assimilation, but you learn something new every day. The top also opens to reveal a hidden compartment inside, large enough for storing Borg Picard. Like a genie in a bottle, except a Picard in a cube.

I’m surprised I even have to go through the motions of buying stuff like this; you’d think Kidrobot would just automatically deduct the cost from my bank account and ship them when they’re available. I guess they’re probably just unsure how many of a particular product I want. Which, in this case, is all of them.

World View balloon spacecraft wants to take space tourism to new heights

Space is often said to be the next frontier, at least as far as discovering new places and information goes. Most of us, however, still have a lot to learn about our own planet, especially since we rarely see the Earth from a different point of view. Space, at least those few hundred kilometers beyond our atmosphere, offers that perfect vantage point that will hopefully give us a different and better perspective of our home, literally and figuratively. That’s the kind of life-changing experience that the budding space tourism is promising, and one company is trying to promote a different kind of experience that’s meant to be enjoyed in a relaxing manner rather than the thrilling adventure the likes that Blue Origin, SpaceX, or Virgin Galactic want to give.

Designer: PriestmanGoode

When you hear the phrase “space tourism,” you will most likely imagine trips beyond our atmosphere aboard typical spacecraft like rockets. Indeed for companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, that’s the most conventional way to reach the skies. Virgin Galactic, on the other hand, is taking the runway less traveled with a spaceship that takes off like an airplane, reducing the need for expensive and risky rocket launches.

These space travel experiences, however, offer just a brief glimpse of the world below them, lasting just a few minutes or an hour or two at most. They offer zero gravity, technically micro-gravity, experiences that often fill our imaginations and satisfy childhood dreams of becoming astronauts. These brief, exhilarating moments might be enough for an adventure of a lifetime, but it’s hardly the only way we can enjoy space or our planet from that altitude.

Just like a hot air balloon trip, World View is promising a more subdued experience but one that is just as enjoyable, especially since it stretches out to 6 to 12 hours. The balloon spacecraft “launches” just before dawn so that tourists get to see the sunrise from 30,000 meters above the Earth’s surface, just enough to see the planet’s curvature splitting Earth and space. After hovering for hours, the spacecraft slowly descends back to terra firma, gently and safely guided by parafoils.

The “tour” doesn’t include that period of weightlessness as the cabin is pressurized and climate-controlled, prioritizing comfort over thrills. The spacious area has room for eight passengers and two professional crew members and has amenities like in-flight dining, a bar, and reclining seats. Oversized windows give passengers a nearly unobstructed view, while cameras pointing back down to Earth let them zoom in on surface details.

Carried only by helium, World View’s balloons could offer a more sustainable alternative to rockets that still use precious fuel to launch. Intended to be part of more luxurious and relaxed activities like team-building exercises or retreats, this kind of spacecraft and launch technology really put a different perspective on space tourism, one that passengers will be able to savor for hours to get their money’s worth.

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LEGO Luke Skywalker and Yoda Dagobah Training Playset: Do or Do Not Buy

Master Yoda training Luke on Dagobah: it’s an iconic movie scene. And what better way to immortalize Luke’s struggle to gain control over the Force than with an official LEGO set? I can’t think of any. Come on, Luke, lift that X-Wing out of the swamp – you can do it! No? Dammit, Luke, Darth Vader is your father!

The exactly 1,000-piece set will retail for $79.99, and you can pre-order it on the LEGO site now. It includes Yoda’s modest hut, a large Gnarltree, Luke’s X-Wing peeking one of its wings out of the swamp, as well as Luke, Yoda, and R2-D2 minifigs. Remember when Yoda made Luke carry him around like a backpack? That was my favorite part. My cousins make me do the same thing for them.

There’s no question this will make a lovely addition to all the other Star Wars LEGO sets I already own, which is all of them. Yep, all 700+ of them. Can you believe there are so many Star Wars LEGO sets? My wife sure can, especially when she’s trying to navigate absolutely anywhere in the house without stepping on any.

[via The Brick Fan]

This USB Hub concept brings a literal docking station to your desk

A lot of products these days extol the virtues of minimalist design, but one computer accessory idea goes the opposite direction to turn your workstation into a miniature battle station.

The number of devices we’ve become dependent on has grown considerably in the past few years. Ironically, the number of ports we can use to connect these with our computers has actually gone down. Some laptops, for example, have reduced those connectivity options to two USB ports, one of which might even be the only way to charge the portable computer. This has given rise to an innumerable number of so-called USB hubs and docks, most of which try to blend into the background. One concept, however, throws that convention out the window and tries to give science and science-fiction fans something to drool over.

Designer: Junwan Woo

“Docking station” isn’t a new term, but its meaning really depends on the context. For computer users, this often refers to accessories that expand the number of ports you can use. For space enthusiasts and sci-fans, it’s often a place where spaceships find their temporary home. In both cases, the docking station is almost like a metaphor for new experiences, and this hub, simply called “Docking,” puts a literal spin on that.

Instead of the small and nondescript USB docks that litter stores these days, the Docking station is bigger than what its function requires. It only has three full-sized USB ports, for example. Smaller hubs and docks than these also have room for HDMI ports, Ethernet ports, and more. Then again, as a concept, the implementation can be expanded as long as they don’t detract from the main design.

That design is, of course, a miniature docking station for USB drives in the shape of miniature ships. Although the ships look generic, the weathered white exterior of the station and orange accents are almost reminiscent of Rebellion colors in Star Wars. And as with any other Star Wars technology, the design looks both futuristic and retro at the same time.

The USB thumb drives themselves don’t seem to have anything special about them. Each USB port, however, lights up when something is inserted inside, a redundant indicator that still fits perfectly with the theme. Unfortunately, putting any other USB with a different design breaks the illusion, but the dock itself is already something worth talking about on its own.

It’s also going to take up a lot of desk space, but you wouldn’t be buying something like this just to keep your workstation looking tidy and clean. It’s a rather ingenious idea that mashes together two different interpretations of the same term, and it’s one of those concepts we wished actually got turned into a product you can buy.

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