From the Earth to the Moon - The Signature Edition
Hey you, Ground Controls and Major Toms orbiting out there! If you're a space aficionado or know someone who'd like to blast into the cosmos, it's time to take your protein pills and scroll through the following gallery for a definitive go/no-go holiday gift list. It was compiled by Gizmodo and reprinted with the site's permission.
"From the Earth to the Moon - The Signature Edition" ($15 at Amazon) is one of my favorite TV series of all time. It's well-scripted, acted, filmed, and directed, to the point you will get glassy eyes at some of the most dramatic and epic moments.
My favorite is still the episode in which Apollo 12 arrives at the moon, perhaps the most anticlimactic moment in the history of space travel. Even if you watched this on TV, each of the 12 episodes are a must to fully understand the titanic scope, knowledge, and courage that took humans into their trip from the Earth to the Moon.
This one is a given: Saturn V + command module + lunar module + lunar rover + Lego = Insane win. I wish it was as big as the gigantic Millennium Falcon, but it's good enough as it is. Everyone will like the set, and it's a perfect way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of humankind's first trip to the moon. The Lego Saturn V costs $139 at Amazon.
At $1,500, this is one very expensive book. But it has a real lunar rock inside. Not all of them, however: only 12 of its limited-edition 1969 (numbered from 1958 to 1968). And the moon rock is not from the Apollo mission, but from a certified meteor.
Alternatively, you can always buy the beautiful--and a lot cheaper at $31--Full Moon.
Trip to the Kennedy Space Center to watch a shuttle launch
Going to the Kennedy Space Center is always fun. Going to see a launch and feel the ground tremble below your feet while the sky fires up in Halloween orange and chimney red? Simply amazing. Going to watch one of the last shuttle launches next year? An absolute must.
If you give this trip to any space aficionado out there, he or she will love you forever. It's $38 adult/$28 child for the admission ticket. Then add $21 adult/$15 child for a guided tour, plus the cost of flight and hotel.
The other day I got a real USAF fighter pilot jacket at a second-hand shop. I wish I had that for a perfectly dorky Tom Cruise impression at the Dubai Air Show. This $79.99 NASA flight jacket is the next best thing. Kind of. And it comes with all the patches. You only have to provide the Right Stuff.
OK, so you got the jacket. Now you need the sunglasses. Forget about Ray-Bans. These $70 American Optics Original Pilot Sunglasses are the real thing, used by astronauts since the beginning of the human space program.
You can choose different colors, lenses, and temples at its Web site. Unfortunately, they no longer make the yellow bayonet model used by Michael Collins during the Apollo 11. Those (pictured here) are my favorite.
Even if you had all the money in the world, NASA would never let you ride the shuttle. A Soyuz spacecraft, sure, but no space shuttle. No sir, no big bang for you on top of this Reagan-era wonder. You will have to enjoy this video and get over it, because sadly it wouldn't happen even if you were Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jesus Christ all rolled into one. No price tag.
This stuff is disgusting. I want to like it every time I try it, but it has the most horrible taste. Maybe they should clean those astronauts more thoroughly before making the ice cream with them. Die space ice cream, die! Give me Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie any day.