There is something sad about the fact that a major space flight center is now virtually nothing but a mere tourist attraction.
It was from the Kennedy Space Flight Center that mankind started its journey to the stars, and although those glory days have largely been forgotten, some of it can be relived in the gift shop at the Center.
Here you can follow in the footsteps of the Brave as they ventured into the Great Unknown, or as some would have it, The Final Frontier.
The Space Program is dead, but for a price, anyone can take a piece of the remains home to serve as a reminder of what could have been; however, it is what it is, and the best we can do is to remind ourselves that we gave it our best shot- as we gaze at a model of a Space Shuttle on the mantel.
Below are some ideas for gifts to give the space nuts in our lives this festive season; lest we forget the sacrifices the brave had made for the benefit of us all.
All items in this list (and many more) can be purchased online at quantum hyperspace space gifts website and the space shop http://www.thespaceshop.com/. Prices quoted here were correct at the time of writing, March 2016.
Moon night light ($49.99)
What better way to ward off the dark in a child’s room with a highly detailed, 10”-diameter replica of the Moon? This Moon not only automatically lights up as it gets dark, it also displays the Moon phases, and it comes with an audio CD that takes the child on a journey to the Moon, and beyond. The Moon-light comes with a remote control, but it features an auto-shut off function to preserve battery life. The light requires 2 AAA, and 4AA batteries, that are not included. There is also a Mars-light available at the same price, and with the same features.
Remote controlled orrery ($59.99)
This is the perfect gift to satisfy the Johannes Kepler in your children. All the planets are represented in this remote-controlled scale model of the solar system, and although we cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Equal Distances in Equal Times law of planetary motion as it is represented here, the pleasure of having the solar system hanging from your ceiling should go a long way toward cancelling out any errors. The orrery comes with a harmless light pointer, and an audio CD that takes the listener on a guided tour of the solar system.
Boeing 747/Space Shuttle piggy-back model ($229.99)
Barring only a Shuttle launch, the most awe-inspiring sight during all of the Shuttle Program was seeing a Shuttle being ferried on the back of a 747. With this detailed 1/200 scale model, you can be reminded of the engineering challenges that went into adapting a standard 747 to be able to piggy-back a Shuttle safely. This is the perfect gift for all the pilots in your life, who will truly appreciate the trepidation the ferry pilots experienced the first time they took off with a Shuttle on their back.
Fisher zero-gravity pen ($37.99)
Although NASA has accomplished many Great Things in the past, they have also wasted a lot of time and money on trivialities, and this pen that can write in zero gravity conditions is a perfect example of this. This pen cost millions to develop, and although it can write upside down, under water, and over greasy surfaces, the Russians could do the same things by using pencils or wax crayons. However, owning, and using a Fisher pen will no doubt please the accountant in your life, if for no other reason that he/she can actually see how his/her tax dollars was spent.
Space Shuttle Orbiter Collection ($495.99)
This series of six Shuttle models that are hand-carved from mahogany, is presented in the order they were built, with the first in the series being the test bed for the technology. Wags may compare the 1/200 scale wooden models to the wooden spaceships described by Bob Shaw in his novels, The Wooden Spaceships, but the series includes the Challenger and the Columbia, in which many astronauts had died. This is reason enough to treat the collection with some respect, and it will make the perfect gift for serious collectors of Shuttle memorabilia.
Iron meteorite 21.43 lbs. ($7 500.00)
The perfect gift for the space industry executive (who have large enough offices to display such a large meteorite to best effect), may be on the expensive side, but it is not every day that a genuine iron meteorite comes onto the market through official channels. This particular meteorite is thought to have fallen to earth between 4 000-, and 6 000 years ago, and was recovered from Campo Del Cielo (Field of Heavens) in Argentina in 1971, and it consists of iron, nickel, phosphorous, cobalt, germanium, and gallium.
However, for the budget conscious shopper, a more cost effective gift of meteorites is available for a mere $29.99, and consists of a framed pack of three meteorite fragments. One fragment was recovered from the Sahara Desert, another from Canyon Diablo in Arizona, and one from the large meteorite mentioned above, but note that not all packs contain fragments from the same sources. Nonetheless, all packs contain information on the origin of the included meteorite fragments.
135-piece set of commemorative Shuttle Mission pins ($995.00)
Commemorative pins were issued for each Shuttle Mission, and this set contains a pin for each of the 135 missions flown during the Shuttle program. The collection is limited to 3 500 sets, and each contains three commemorative pins fashioned from metal taken from a Shuttle. Each set includes a brass plaque engraved with that set’s number in the series, some background information on the Shuttle program, and a certificate of authenticity.
Gene Cernan “Final Footprint on the Moon” signed picture collage ($229.99)
The final boot print on the Moon is probably just as significant as the first had been, and this collage of pictures autographed by Astronaut Gene Cernan, taken during the Apollo 17 mission and other outstanding moments of the space program is a powerful reminder of what is possible. Men had walked on the Moon, and although the Moon is only a stone’s throw away, the next “Final Footprint” picture might be of the last person leaving earth. Fanciful, we know, but how cool would it be if you could one day buy such a picture in a gift shop on Mars?