Knife Designer for the SpaceX Crew is back with a Damascus Steel and Titanium EDC Pocket Blade

In 2021, SpaceX commissioned knife designer Darriel Caston to design a standard-issue EDC pocket blade for its crew. Now CRKT is teaming up with Caston to build a production-ready version of that very knife, with a titanium handle and a gorgeous Damascus Steel blade. Named Mbombo after the Kuba god of creation, the knife builds on the Central-African mythology of a god who helped create the sun, moon, and stars from within their body. The entire knife measures 7.63 inches when fully open, and weighs a mere 3.5 ounces (99.22 grams), making it absolutely ideal for traveling with. It’s a feisty little demon, with a precisely engineered flipping mechanism that makes the knife feel incredibly robust and well worth its $225 price tag.

Designer: Darriel Caston for CRKT

Caston’s knife for SpaceX had some very specific design guidelines. The build had to be reliable, infallible, and had to have the kind of precision you’d expect from a space exploration company. As a tribute to the company, Caston even incorporated materials from SpaceX’s launch pad, using the metal as the raw material for his knives. CRKT later approached Caston to help create a new derivative line of knives based on the SpaceX design. While it wasn’t entirely possible to get their hands on SpaceX’s launch pads, CRKT decided to outfit the Mbombo with some unique materials of their own.

The Mbombo’s blade is perhaps the first thing you notice about it. Crafted from Damascus Steel, the blade has a beautiful marbled pattern on it brought about by etching the steels’ different metal blends. The Mbombo comes with a cleaver-style blade with two edges, reminiscent of an American Tanto, but with a curved front profile that makes it versatile and good to look at. The blade measures a cool 3.23 inches (82mm) when open, and closes into its beautiful bead-blasted titanium handle.

The handle comes with a textured edge on the front, increasing dexterity and grip during use, while also being a hat-tip to the ridged design of the SpaceX flipper. The titanium handle also sports a nifty frame lock in the form of a thick lock bar that locks the blade in place once open, preventing it from accidentally shutting while in use. Lift the bar and the blade folds back into its handle.

The Mbombo also comes with a pocket clip as well as a lanyard hole built into it, allowing you to carry it with you everywhere you go. It starts at $225, with free shipping within the US.

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NOMINAL Moon Lander pen is ready to launch your productivity to the next level

Nothing is more inspiring than a tool that represents humanity’s best moments and aspirations.

It’s easy to take a pen for granted until you find yourself forced to use one that doesn’t work or doesn’t feel comfortable to hold. Mass-produced pens have numbed our minds to the joys of holding a well-designed tool, especially one that delights our sense of sight and touch. Fortunately, there is also no shortage of high-quality pens that try to bring back those age-old sensations with a modern touch. And what could be more modern than a pen inspired by a rocket that will take humans to their next frontier, a fitting metaphor for breaking through the barriers of boredom, procrastination, and banality to take off to new heights of creativity and productivity.

Designer: Mercator London

Click Here to Buy Now: $68 $75 (10% off with coupon code “YANKO_ML_10”). Hurry, less than 48 hours to go!

Nominal, whose name was literally taken from a term used during rocket launches, made a name for itself with a highly successful 2020 run that brought a pen designed to resemble SpaceX’s historic Falcon 9. Inspired by a new collaboration between NASA and SpaceX to bring humans back to the Moon, the new NOMINAL Moon Lander puts a different twist to the “space pen,” allowing your mind and your hands to wander briefly and take part in the history-defining process of launching a rocket into space. Pick up the pen from its base, pop the cap module off, and land the pen’s tip on paper to write your thoughts and tasks down smoothly, unhindered by the weight of poorly-designed pens.

The NOMINAL Moon Lander is striking both in its design and its finish. Its brushed stainless steel body is expertly made from 18 individual CNC-machined parts and conveys both an image of strength and durability. Every part of the pen is meticulously designed, even for the parts you’re unlikely to see or notice. The base, for example, hides 29 recessed dots that represent the 29 raptor engines that will catapult the Super Heavy Starship to space. The pen’s grip has engraved hexagonal patterns, similar to the heatshields used in SpaceX’s rockets.

The pen isn’t just for show, of course, though it definitely stands tall and proud as a desk centerpiece. It is also a sharp tool you can use to wage war on work and todos, especially with the Schmidt P950M Medium Black pressurized refill that was specifically chosen for its smooth-flowing ink at any angle. The base can be easily detached to replace the cartridge when the ink well runs empty. The pen grip’s stainless steel surface is cool to the touch, and the patterns increase the skin’s grip, offering a more pleasant and stress-free writing experience.

NOMINAL Moon Lander Platform – Features a fineprint photograph of the Moon’s surface. It also fits an Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger.

And when the task is written and done, the Moon Lander can find its way back home to the optional Moon Lander Platform, complete with a printed photograph of the Moon’s surface. For those times when the rocket is away, that base can also be a home for your iPhone, especially because it hides a MagSafe charger inside. The base also serves as a fitting home for the cap Capsule Module while the pen is in use, signifying that the work is far from over.

Beautiful in both its construction and its form, the NOMINAL Moon Lander pen tickles one’s fancy and imagination every time it is picked up for what would otherwise be a rote or mundane task. Almost like a challenge to break free from the regularity of everyday life, the SpaceX-inspired pen delivers a tool that is both interesting to look at and even more pleasurable to hold and use, just as a modern pen in the space age should be.

Click Here to Buy Now: $68 $75 (10% off with coupon code “YANKO_ML_10”). Hurry, less than 48 hours to go!

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This massive Tesla Hotel-on-wheels concept paints a sci-fi picture of luxury life on Mars

Designed and envisioned by China-based artist ‘LOONGT’, the Tesla Mobile Resort Hotel is more than just a Roadster shot in space. It’s a mammoth-like structure on wheels that cruises along on Mars’ landscape, giving occupants a stunning view of the red planet.

Although purely sci-fi in nature, the Tesla Mobile Resort Hotel does paint a pretty vivid picture of the future. Imagine a building that’s capable of moving around, choosing the most scenic spot to park itself, with a transparent set of cabins on the inside that are always giving the occupants/residents the best views. To reach the hotel in the first place, you first need to make a journey to Mars, and then travel to the crater base where the Tesla Mobile Resort Hotel is parked. Once you’re in the hotel, there are quite a few activities to engage in, both inside and outside the massive vehicle.

Designer: LOONGT

The vehicle can be split into 3 separate zones – the entertainment area on the front, featuring a massive revolving restaurant on top, followed by gyms, casinos, and other entertainment areas right below. Underneath that lie pods marked 01, 02, 03, etc. These are rotating vehicles that let you go for on-ground tours on the Martian landscape. Once you’re back from your in-resort or outdoor adventures, retire to your rooms on the moving resort that makes its way to the top of Olympus Mons (the tallest mountain in our entire solar system) for a spectacular view of the sunset. You could also opt for a balloon ride, in a transparent floating pod that detaches from the resort and hovers in the sky above, giving you a spectacular view of the alien planet and what could possibly be the most glorious (and expensive) sunset available to our species!

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Nokia Luna Net is a conceptual communication system that will let you connect to WiFi on the moon!

Dear reader, it was my childhood dream to be an astronaut but I wear glasses and that was enough to disqualify me so I instead started to read, write, listen, watch everything space as an attempt to fill the vacuum of a crushed dream -yes, like the vacuum in space. Do what you will with that fun fact about me but, as a kid with a vivid imagination who was obsessed with space travel, the first thing that always came to mind was “how will I call my friends and family back home?” And now with NASA’s Artemis Program in motion to bring humans back on the Moon by 2024, that question has grown up into “what equipment do we need to make faster contact with Earth?” Enter Nokia Luna Net – a smart communication system!

NASA is cooperating with external companies to build the needed equipment for this mission. For this design, Nokia was kept in mind as the partner building the first-ever Moon internet solution which is scheduled to launch in 2022. It consists of one main unit, the lander, and three smaller nodes. The lander and nodes spread out over a specific area that will have the wireless connection and thus build a mesh communication network. The system will be transported via a rocket after which it will reach the moon independently. Luna Net is autonomous and therefore it can set itself up – now only if my Earth WiFi did that too. Thermogenerators will be used for the power supply as they can deal with the extreme temperatures and the long days/nights on the moon. These generators are able to produce electricity from drastic temperature differences (+172 degrees Celcius during the day and -123 degrees Celcius during the night) and store it in rechargeable batteries.

The lander and the nodes are all equipped with VR cameras and LiDAR sensors (Light Detection and Ranging sensors are a remote sensing method used to examine surfaces). This combination allows the system to generate 3D content with detail and depth which gives us a much more realistic understanding of the situation/information. It also has a 360-degree camera and screen set up which lets users on Earth see live images/data from the moon. Rieder explores the design beyond just hardware, the next generation of lunar surface communication should look into how people on Earth can experience and learn about space in a new way even if they don’t get the chance to go up in space…I am sure I am not alone, on this planet or in galaxies far far away.

Designer: Johannes Rieder


Tesla hasn’t produced any new cars in over 2 years… but it can’t stop announcing them.

[This is an Editorial. The views, opinions, and positions expressed in this article are my own.]

Tesla’s most popular car to date, the Model 3, was announced in 2016. Its most recent production unit, the Model Y, was announced in March of 2019, more than 2 years ago. Ever since that moment up until now, Tesla’s debuted the Roadster 2nd Gen, the Tesla Semi, the Cybertruck, the Cyberquad, and finally today, an updated Roadster 2nd Gen (SpaceX Package). It hasn’t committed to a delivery date for any of them.

Imagine you ordered the iPhone 12 in 2020, and Apple said it would deliver the smartphone to you in 2021. You wait for a year and instead of receiving an iPhone 12, you receive news that Apple, instead of working on producing and delivering the iPhone 12, spent all that time designing an iPhone 12S. Apple now has two conceptual products in its catalog, and you, the consumer, have nothing in your hand. That’s the short story of the Tesla Roadster. If you’re one of the thousands of people who have been waiting for the 2nd Gen Roadster since 2019, you probably feel pretty annoyed that Tesla already announced a better version without even delivering on its previous version. You can’t even buy the Roadster 1st Gen since the company promptly discontinued it. In short, the Roadster is basically a myth at this point… quite like the Cybertruck.

Along with its Roadster 2nd Gen update, Tesla also sent a shoutout mail to the millions of people who ordered a Cybertruck saying… well, saying that the company hadn’t even begun producing it yet. The pickup truck, which was scheduled for delivery in 2021 will start production at the end of 2021. In short, that $100 pre-order you gave to the car company was just one massive paid newsletter program. You’re not going to receive cars by a long stretch in time… you’re just going to receive updates.

All this sort of proves one point that many people have been making for a while now. Let’s first start by acknowledging that producing cars is HARD. It’s an absolute herculean task taking a sketch or a concept render all the way to production – it requires a tonne of money, man-power, infrastructure, a robust supply chain, international cooperation, extensive testing, and a marketing team on steroids. That being said, it’s safe to opine that Tesla isn’t selling cars anymore – it’s selling hype, and more than an entrepreneur, Elon is a hypeman. There’s no doubt that Tesla is at the very forefront of innovation, but it’s difficult to digest that the company’s worth shot up from $75 billion in 2019, to $559 billion today when it hasn’t produced a single new car in the interim.

Full disclosure, I own Tesla stock. I saw its meteoric rise last year and fall this year. I’d love to drag Elon through the mud for being the market manipulator dudebro he is. Ever since his $420 tweet up until now, where he somehow has the power to make cryptocurrency values rise or fall just by tweeting about them, Musk is nothing but a self-proclaimed hustler but this isn’t about him, it’s about the effect he has on Tesla’s ability to hold its ground as a car manufacturer instead of becoming a hype manufacturer.

For the sake of context, let’s just look at what Tesla announced this weekend. The company’s NY account announced that the Roadster prototype was being showcased at the Petersen Automotive Museum, to which Elon promptly announced that the production model would look even better than the prototype, and a special SpaceX package (courtesy a collaboration between two of Elon’s companies) would see the Roadster getting a major acceleration upgrade of 0-60 in 1.1 seconds, thanks to the presence of cold air rocket thrusters built right into the automobile. Sounds fancy, right? Well, it also sounds imaginary because the Roadster IS imaginary. Those specs mean nothing if the product doesn’t exist. It’s a lot like Musk’s fancy underground tunnel network, which was supposed to help cars avoid traffic by blitzing through sub-surface tunnels at nearly the speed of sound. A demo video released by The Boring Company showed pretty much that, except the cars were moving at a paltry 40mph. Musk also was responsible for major fanfare around Neuralink, his revolutionary brain-augmenting hardware company. Their first major demo had nothing except for a few pigs demonstrating how the Neuralink chip could read brainwaves. Impressive, sure. Is it what Elon promised? Not by a far shot.

The irony of me being the editor of a design website that primarily covers conceptual content isn’t lost on me. However, those concepts don’t trade on the stock market. After a certain point, what’s the difference between Tesla and some designer with a Behance profile – they both announce concepts, except one of them’s a $559 billion-dollar company. What’s the point of innovation if it won’t exist for another half-decade (a conservative guess, no less)… we’re also assuming that Tesla will actually deliver on these promises – so if it doesn’t, how is Tesla any different than Theranos or Magic Leap??

You see, the reason I used Apple as an example earlier on is that barring the AirPower, Apple’s always been absolutely 100% certain of its capabilities. It announces products it intends on delivering in the near future. Apple is great at innovating WHILE managing its expectations… and if Tesla wants to be treated as a disruptor and a company modeled on the fast-paced Silicon Valley modus operandi, it better deliver too. Not on ideas, not on random flip-flops between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, but on expectations. Sure, I understand that car-companies often announce models that take a year or two to produce. However, Tesla isn’t most car companies, and the Roadster still doesn’t have a definite set-in-stone delivery date even 2 years post its announcement. Heck, the Cybertruck was announced 20 months ago and it still won’t begin production for another 6 months at the least. There’s no doubt in my mind that electric cars are the future… but let’s face it, every tweet Elon sends needs to end with “Terms and Conditions Apply”.

Designer Charlie Nghiem imagines what the Tesla Roadster SpaceX Package could look like

A SpaceX Travel Card sure to shock and awe every space enthusiast on Earth!

Move away Mars, we have set sights for Jupiter. Or at least graphics designer Arun Raj has! Bringing all our nerdy space-themed love to life, Arun has created a TravelCard that can be used to book a travel plan and double up as a ticket to a visit to the moon, Mars, Saturn, and even Jupiter! You may call that ambitious, but hey, what are we without the power to dream?

While I am guilty of watching every live stream that SpaceX does (and I literally cheered when the Dragon 2 latched onto the ISS successfully) I would love to get my hands on this card whether or not I can afford the $100K ticket price! Posting to the r/SpaceXLounge on Reddit, the SpaceX Travel card shows the easy and fun interactions in the process of booking a ticket to Mars. Visually the card is similar in size to a credit card and fits in one hand, making it easy to access all the touchpoints on the card. While this is a paper mock-up, we can imagine a slim enough e-ink screen that will allow for the technology to carry this. Launch the booking process with fingerprint identification and specify your current location as well as destination – we have to sometimes return from the moon as well. The rest of it is like every ticket booking process – choose your travel date, the number of people traveling and the card auto-updates your arrival date. Arun audaciously doesn’t show the payment interface where we make this $1500K payment – although given how you’re booking a ticket to Jupiter, I presume your SpaceX currency would be pre-loaded or maybe they have a PayPal integration! Hit book now, and you have a nostalgic, movie ticket-like stub that shows your travel details.


Designer: Arun Raj of armedialabs

Hitting the Books: Elon Musk and the quest to build a better rocket engine

Putting people safely into orbit is no small feat, especially without the seemingly limitless R&D budgets afforded to national space programs. However that has done little to dissuade a new generation of the private spaceflight companies from loo...

This Cybertruck-inspired Tesla Modular rover was designed for exploration missions on Mars!

Humans’ desire to set foot on another planet – even make it their home is not distant as visionaries like Elon Musk are headstrong about their goal of colonizing Mars in the next few decades. More than a pipedream, the foundation has been laid by NASA’s unmanned missions to the red planet – the freshest one being the landing of the Mars Perseverance rover. While rovers scout the planet’s surface for signs of water and other intricate details for future missions, here on planet earth, imaginative designers are letting loose their creative bits to show us what the future could be like.

This bug-like rover that looks like the big daddy of the compact Mars rovers that we have seen over the years is, in fact, a waste disposal vehicle for the harsh terrain of the red planet. Called the D25 Modular Rover, the design comes to the courtesy of Joshua Kotter, who has reimagined the shape and function of a vehicle to make it look like its tailormade for the jarred landscape and severe weather conditions of Mars. The three-part vehicle is made of the modular platform chassis that’s electrically driven, has a cabin crew module, and the main waste disposal module. While the first and second are a given surety on the vehicle, the waste disposal module can be swapped with other customizable modules depending on the need.

Joshua gives the modular rover a very upbeat character that’s bold with the NASA, Tesla, and SpaceX branding. The Cybertruck-like sharp aesthetic is apparent in the rover as it is made to scale abrasive terrain commonly found on the planet. The module could also be readied for any reconnaissance missions should an alien species decide to have the first rights on the planet. Who knows what the uncertain future holds for humanity as we are bound to encounter other life forms in the galaxy and our universe eventually. The D25 Modular Rover looks prepared for that eventuality!

Designer: Joshua Kotter