Gnome is heading for space as part of Starship fundraiser


Rocket Lab

The Earth isn’t the only place in the universe that humans have done a fine job of messing up. It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of pieces of junk are currently floating around in space. And another object is set to join the party, with the good news being that it will at least be on the kitsch-cute side of things. Get ready for Gnome in Space.

The man behind the plan to send a garden gnome on the adventure of a lifetime is Valve president Gabe Newell. Esports fans know Valve as the Washington State-based company behind such success stories as Steam, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and Dota.

Newell is teaming up with Rocket Lab—which normally specializes in getting small satellites off the ground—to shoot a garden gnome to infinity and beyond.

Here’s where thing get interesting: for every person who watches the Gnome in Space launch online, Newell will donate a dollar to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Starship. That’s a national paediatric hospital in New Zealand, where the tech entrepreneur now lives.

Those who want to help with the fundraising can either watch the launch here in real-time or within the first 24 hours after liftoff.

The gnome won’t be coming from the New Zealand equivalent of Home Depot, David Hunter, or Big Bubba’s Backyard Centre. Instead award-winning Wellington-based gnome fabricator will use titanium to create the space traveller. Yes, believe it or not, gnome fabrication is an actual things.

The Gnome in Space will be 150 mm, modelled on Gnome Chompski from Half-Life. Instead of using Old World magic to go airborne, it will be part of a ridesharing mission from Launch Complex 1.

The launch has a 14-day window starting on November 15. You can track things here.

Newell says his lifelong dream is to launch a children’s hospital in space. That will presumably give kids a place to go when they are hit by the millions of pieces of trash floating around in the cosmos.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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