It’s an exciting time to be a fan of space. NASA’s going back to the moon with the Artemis program, more and more companies are flying space tourist missions, and the new JWST observatory has already started changing the way we think of ourselves and the universe around us.
The good news is that all of this ongoing and renewed interest in space means that there’s a ton of merch out there. There’s never been a better time to be into space — or to be buying a gift for someone who loves it. These are some of our favorite things that any space lover will appreciate.
Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ
If you’re looking for a beginner telescope, the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is a fantastic choice. It’s easy to put together, provides a clear crisp view of night sky objects, and is relatively lightweight and portable. The telescope doesn’t have a motor, but it’s more affordable as a result. Compatibility with the StarSense app makes this telescope brilliantly easy to use and drastically reduces the time and effort it takes to find cool objects to look at in the night sky.
Startorialist JWST Cosmic Cliffs High Top Sneakers
JWST has been fully operational since June 2022, and it’s already sent us stunning images of our universe. One is a star-forming region in the Carina Nebula called the Cosmic Cliffs (fun fact, the tallest peaks are 7 light years high!) and you can get this amazing image on a classy pair of high-top sneakers from Startorialist, a STEM fashion brand. Keep in mind these are a custom order, so they may take a few weeks to ship.
Banllis Decorative Astronaut and Moon Bookends
Want to spruce up someone’s book shelves? These adorable astronaut moon bookends will delight any space lover. They come in two colors, gold and gray – depending on whether you want them to pop or blend in. They aren’t the heaviest bookends, so you probably don’t want to hold up a huge stack of hardcovers with these, but they look good from both far away and close up – the detailing on the moons is an especially nice touch.
The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy
Moiya McTier tells the story of the Milky Way in a unique way: from the point of view of the galaxy. It’s a funny and smart look at our galaxy (and humans’ place within it), and presents scientific information in an approachable and often hilarious way. Whether you’ve read every space book out there and are looking for something new or don’t know where to start, this is a unique perspective for sure.
Four Point Puzzles Moon Puzzle
This 1,000 piece puzzle features an exquisite NASA image of the Moon’s surface. The rich detail here, and the intricate lunar features, will provide a challenge to even experienced puzzle aficionados.
Emily's Space Craft Jewelry
Want to buy some space jewelry? Emily Lakdawalla, planetary scientist and former Senior Editor of The Planetary Society, has a space-themed jewelry shop on Etsy. And frankly, her designs are stunning. You can find everything from Hertzsprung-Russell star diagram necklaces to solar system bracelets and more.
Nikon 7245 Action Binoculars
Interested in looking at the night sky on the go? Consider a pair of binoculars instead of a telescope. They’re much more portable and easy to carry, and they don’t require nearly the setup that a telescope does. This Nikon ATB set is widely considered the best for stargazing — they’re lightweight, compact, and the price is equivalent to the most beginner telescopes.
Svaha USA JWST Deep Field Custom Hoodie
Svaha USA is another great brand that’s got some fantastic STEM merch. They’ve even got JWST’s Deep Field image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 on a hoodie! If a pullover hoodie isn’t your thing, you can also find the image on tote bags, dresses, and more. These are custom printed upon ordering, so don’t wait until the last minute or you may not receive yours by the holidays.
Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Training Experience
If you’re more of an “experience” gift giver than a “things” gift giver, then the Astronaut Training Experience might be just what you’re looking for. Located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on the Space Coast of Florida, this unique trip allows visitors and guests to train like an astronaut — everything from docking to navigating the Martian surface and even performing a spacewalk in low gravity.
Astronomy Activity Book For Kids
If you have five to seven year old kid on your holiday gift list who’s fascinated by galaxies far away, this activity book is a great choice. Written by a former NASA scientist and beautifully illustrated, it contains games and projects about space, information on how to find constellations and big astronomical events such as meteor showers, and more.
LEGO Space Shuttle Discovery
Buying for someone who loves building things? LEGO’s space models are unparalleled. The Space Shuttle Discovery (complete with a small Hubble Space Telescope — based on the Hubble Servicing missions STS-131 in 1990) is 2,354 pieces and comes with a display stand. Of note is the fact that LEGO is retiring a few of their cool space sets this year — Discovery has been spared, but if you want the Apollo Saturn V or International Space Station, you should snag those while you can still find them.
Super Cool Space Facts
If the kid on your list is more into cool facts and less into hands-on projects, this book is exactly what you think it is from the title: full of hundreds of space facts, along with full-color photos. It’s a great choice for any younger space nerd – but honestly, it’s a good read for the adults in your life who want to know more about space but don’t know where to start.
The Night Sky Poster by Kurzgesagt
Kurzgesagt has tons of gorgeous educational content and products. The Night Sky poster is definitely a highlight, though. It’s a detailed map of the stars, complete with highlighted constellations, planets and “messier objects” like nebulas and star clusters. Along the bottom is a brief history of astronomy and human kind’s connection to stars. If you’re shopping for someone who seems to constantly be staring off into space (literally as opposed to figuratively), they’ll definitely appreciate this touch of educational decor. — Terrence O'Brien, Managing Editor
NASA JPL Space Tourism posters
Designers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) originally created these “Visions of the Future” posters in 2018. The whimsical posters, which imagine a future space tourism industry, were styled after the vintage National Parks posters that have long been popular with travel buffs. They’ve been adding to the collection ever since. Whether it’s Jupiter’s multicolored auroras, Venus’ peach-toned clouds or imagined nightlife on PSO J318.5-22, each one is also its own mini lesson about a piece of our solar system. NASA has the whole set available to download on its website, or you can buy physical prints (framed or unframed) from allposters.com. — Karissa Bell, Senior Reporter