A is for Astronaut. And to children, the sense of wonder and awe regarding interplanetary adventures lives on, even as the golden age of space travel as we knew it in the 1960s and ‘70s has—at least for the time being—faded like a shooting star.
Certainly, rocket scientists continue to tap into the unique gifts of the universe. NASA’s high-profile space shuttle program may have ended, but the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle had a successful unmanned test launch in December, and a crewed mission could happen as early as 2021. The private sector has stepped in to contract with NASA to provide orbital transportation to the International Space Station, as have space programs of other countries.
The next generation of astronauts, those who will likely be the travelers to Mars, are children today. They continue to nurture our dreams of celestial exploration. For them, we have some fun, unique gifts to help keep that dream alive.
This pop-up tent serves as the interplanetary command post for young space explorers. The tent’s four tunnels evoke the sprawling modules of a space station. Painted viewports and control interfaces, and screened tunnel ceilings and a screened section of the dome encourage imaginative play during celestial observations.
This remote-controlled astronaut is seemingly out for a spacewalk around the International Space Station, but instead is propelled by twin rotors for safe indoor flight. A pair of diode lights in the rocket backpack give the illusion this spaceman is controlling his weightless wandering himself, ideal for a moment of astral wanderlust.
At the end of a day of interplanetary play, create a tranquil sleeping environment for children with this plush turtle that projects eight constellations onto a ceiling. Its illuminated plastic shell has apertures which allow light to pass through when the blue, green, or amber backlight is turned on, creating a starry display that encourages sleep…and dreams of astronauts.