Every Conversation That Happened During the First Moon Landing, Visualized

Nicholas Rougeux
Nicholas Rougeux

NASA’s transcripts from space missions can be incredibly colorful. During the Apollo 10 mission, a piece of poop that floated through the capsule sparked an argument over who did the doo (the answer is still unclear). During Gemini 3, pilot John Young revealed to his crew that he had smuggled a corned beef sandwich from Earth (“Smells, doesn’t it?” he remarked).

A new data visualization provides an interactive timeline for the transcripts from the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned trip to the moon and the origin of famous moments like “One small step for man …” Lunar Conversations, created by Chicago-based artist Nicholas Rougeux (who has previously visualized classic literature by its punctuation and turned sentences in famous novels into constellations), documents every transmission that was recorded during the mission, highlighting important moments and letting you see when the astronauts were most chatty.

The graphic visualizes each conversation as a bubble, with bigger bubbles corresponding to more verbose transmissions. The gray bubbles are the transmissions to Earth from space, and the blue bubbles represent things that NASA controllers on the ground said to the astronauts. When you hover on the bubble, you can see the transcript of what was said.

A poster version of the full visualization
Nicholas Rougeux

Rougeux writes on his blog that while most of the chatter was very technical, conversations “were very casual, including talk of munching on sandwiches, transmitting the daily news, and laughing about jokes.” The astronauts described what they saw around them, like “a rather remarkable cloud that appears in the vicinity of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan” and the powdery surface of the moon. Mission Control gave the astronauts updates on what was going on on the ground, including the results of the Miss Universe pageant and a House of Representatives vote on a tax bill. It also includes the phone call that the astronauts had with Richard Nixon after they had landed on the moon.

Reading through the transmissions is a good reminder of the humanity of now-legendary astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (really, who among us has not been late to answer a call because of “munching sandwiches”?) as well as just how much communication goes on between the astronauts and NASA’s team on the ground. The astronauts were in near-constant communication with Mission Control, and there are only rare gaps in the transcript. The astronauts were rigorously scheduled, with even their meals timed out. As a result, it can be difficult to single out specific transmissions, purely because there are so many of them.

You can explore for yourself—and buy it as a poster—here.

[h/t Flowing Data]

These Modern, Minimalist Cremation Urns Double as Planters

C.C. Boyce
C.C. Boyce

Cremation is becoming an increasingly common end-of-life plan, but many have lamented the lack of options when selecting an urn to store their loved one's ashes. Many of these vessels take the form of drab-looking vases that, for some people, serve as reminders of a painful event.

That’s why C.C. Boyce stepped in. The Los Angeles-based designer and woodworker created a collection of “planturns”—urns that double as planters—to fill a gap in the market.

“A while back a friend’s father passed away and they couldn’t find a cremation urn that they liked, so they asked me to make something, and I did, thinking this would just be a one-off custom job,” Boyce said in a video uploaded to Kickstarter. “But when I posted the final product to Instagram, I was flooded with messages from people all across the death care industry—people who took care of pets as well as people.”

Plant urns
C.C. Boyce

Some wanted an urn with a more modern aesthetic, while others wanted a subtler piece that would effortlessly blend with their household decor. The symbolism of death fusing with new life has not gone unnoticed, either.

Boyce spent a year experimenting with different designs and settled on two styles: one that comes in speckled maple, and another that comes in a two-toned walnut and sycamore. All of the vessels have two parts that attach via magnetic pull, so even if the planturn gets knocked over, the ashes will still be safe and sound.

The bottom part contains a hand-waxed muslin bag to store your loved one’s cremated remains, and the top part features a glass or ceramic holder for your plant of choice, whether it’s a succulent or air plant.

They come in three sizes, which will vary in accordance with the amount of ashes you want to store. A small planturn is suitable for small pets, while a large can hold the ashes of a person. Get it on Kickstarter for $225 to $500, depending on the size.

Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Arlo Skye Now Has Space-Themed Luggage

Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

While some travelers are preoccupied with getting their luggage through airport security, the designers at Arlo Skye are thinking bigger. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the brand's new line of suitcases is inspired by space travel, with high tech features and a sleek, futuristic look.

Arlo Skye was founded in 2016 by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi Inc. They set out to create luggage that emphasized design, with luxury polycarbonate suitcases available in trendy colors like rose gold and custom monogramming.

The company's Space Collection may be its most stylized line yet. It comes with a removable, 10,050-milliamp-hour charger with USB C and A ports for charging phones and other devices. The chrome-colored case is 22 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide and weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

Space Collection suitcase from Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

Depending on what type of space traveler you are, you can get one of three designs laser-etched on the bottom of your luggage. There's Moon Shot, Team Human, and Occupy Mars; each engraving comes with a short ode to space and a small picture of its respective celestial body. Like other suitcases made by Arlo Skye, these bags are zipper-free and made from polycarbonate with an aluminum frame.

Whether you're a globetrotter or an aspiring astronaut, the Space Collection from Arlo Skye makes a great travel companion.

Buy it from Arlo Skye for $450.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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