BONUS GIVEAWAY: Retro51 The System Alloy from ClickyPost

Retro 51 The System Alloy

Retro 51 The System Alloy

Mike Dudek from ClickyPost created one of the most favorite Retro51 pens, The System, and did a special edition in all-alloy. It sold out in a nanosecond but he has ONE and because Mike is a generous soul, he decided to let you wonderful folks have a shot (to the moon) at winning it.

Retro 51 The System Alloy

The solar system is acid-etched into the pen, in a tumbled, pewter finish, the debossed lines of the planets and their orbit trajectories darkened to be seen and felt. This is a rare opportunity to hold the universe (or at least the solar system) in your hands.

Retro 51 The System Alloy

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite space-related bit of trivia, quote, movie, book, etc. Can be fact or fiction but let’s reach for the stars! Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, June 19, 2020. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. Winner must respond within 5 days or I will draw a new giveaway winner (Check your spam!). Shipping will be handled by Mike Dudek/Clicky Post. If you want faster, fancier shipping or added insurance, the winner will be responsible for covering those costs. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.

Retro 51 The System Alloy

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by The Clicky Post for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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  1. By the time the back end of the space shuttle reaches the top of the launch tower, the shuttle is moving at 100mph. Some serious acceleration! It only looks to be moving slowly because it’s so darn big. 🙂

  2. This is from a recent CGP Grey video, but my favorite space trivia is the fact that Mercury is (on average) the closest planet to each other planet in the solar system.

  3. As of the last time I was to the Houston Space Center. Apollo 18 vehicle(canceled due to budget cuts) is still sitting fully assembled.

  4. A cool fact is that my Grandpa helped design and build a device for NASA called the “star plate machine” which took huge photographs of the stars on the same date and time from every year which allowed both the stars to be counted and the motions to be mapped. I remained unused from 1977 until 1995 when they asked him out of retirement to help set it up to retake the same photo’s for the University of MN as they were still used for reference.

  5. Dark matter seems to outweigh visible matter roughly six to one, making up about 27% of the universe. Here’s a sobering fact: The matter we know and that makes up all stars and galaxies only accounts for 5% of the content of the universe!


    1. One of my favorites is “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, which was adapted into the movie “Arrival”. The alien linguistics is so thought-provoking and complicated… I think I read it three times in a row trying to wrap my mind around it.

  6. “It’s full of stars.” – 2001: A Space Odyssey

    I like to throw this quote out at random times and almost no one ever recognizes it. Probably because what happens next is extremely trippy, to say the least. I guess everybody else likes “Open the pod bay door, HAL,” but I love the simple poetry of the quote about the stars.

    Nice pen! Really appeals to my inner geek. Hope your blogiversary was as much fun for you as it was for us.

  7. One of the biggest thrills was seeing the original Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701 model, complete with running lights, at the National Air and Space Museum.

    I’d like to boldly go to The System–and way beyond–with that special Retro 51.

  8. Among the top adventures we’ve had as a family was being VIP guests of NASA for the next-to-last (was going to be last at the time) launch of the Space Shuttle. We sat in bleachers near the astronauts families for the launch. Unbelievable sight, sound, and core-shaking rumble along with feelings of amazement, pride, and awe. I’ve been a space fanatic since the Apollo days. These days I pull out my powerful telescope on clear nights for the neighborhood to peer into the wonders beyond our own mother earth.

  9. The Fisher Space pen was independently developed with no funding from NASA. They were purchased for $6 each for the Apollo missions. This came after they used mechanical pencils that cost $128.89 each!

  10. My favorite space boom is Slaughterhouse-five.

    Why me?
    That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?
    Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why

  11. The Apollo 11 moonwalk spanned my last day as a 9-year-old and my first as a 10-year-old.

  12. I think I’m a full on Star Trek nerd. I went to the very first Star Trek Convention in NYC in 1972 when I was in middle school. I’ve watched the subsequent series and shows and still do.
    Thanks for this giveaway. Please spit on the dice on my behalf when you activate the random number generator.

  13. “Lets light this candle!”…. Mercury Astronaut Alan Shepard(?), waiting to be launched into space. from The Right Stuff

  14. Battlestar Galactica is the best space opera ever! The Expanse is quite watchable also.

  15. “900 years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.” Doctor Who, Time Lord

  16. I love the Apollo 11 documentary that edits together footage from the day of the launch. No interviews or narration, just footage and audio.

  17. Venus is actually larger than Earth, even though a lot of people think it’s smaller.

  18. Astronauts going to the moon trained in the lava beds in Oregon because the landscape seemed moonlike. They took a lava rock from Oregon to the moon!

  19. Can’t talk about space without thinking about Star Trek. Live long and prosper, my friends!

  20. In was the 60’s, my mom & I were driving along when the radio said the Landing Was imminent. So my mom decided to stop at a friends house, as it was a long ways from our home, and ask to watch the landing with me. Tommy’s home, was a block away from us .I was born in ’59, and in the 60’s, when the Astronaughts first landed on the moon, my mom & I were in the car and she decided to pull off the road, and visit my sisters Brother-In-Law. Tommy answered the door and sure enough they were watching the landing on TV and invited us in to watch it with them! It left such a mark with me that I still remember, watching it, approximately 50 years ago, as I’m now 60. Funny, how things lock up inside our brains to be remembered at a later date!!!!!

  21. Somewhat space related: I have a mathematician friend who tried to explain infinity to his 4 year old twins. I, too, believe in setting the bar high.

    That is one seriously gorgeous pen!

  22. “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
    Neil deGrasse Tyson

  23. That story about about Soviet astronauts “just using a pencil” (vs. U.S. Americans developing expensive space pens) is apocryphal. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that graphite dust floating around delicate electronics in microgravity is a terrible idea.

    Also Tang was never an astronaut thing, it was just a Tang marketing campaign.

  24. I love all things space, but I absolutely adore Blue Stars. Rigel in the Orion Constellation is one, but really just the idea that there is this body out in space that is so huge and burns so hot it’s literally a big blue flame ball is crazy awesome.

  25. From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”.

  26. Oh this pen is gorgeous! I’d love to win. ^__^
    My favorite space related book series at the moment is The Expanse. I listened to the first 3 audiobooks and each session– I couldn’t even multitask, that’s how engrossed I was in the story!

  27. Favorite space fact: despite their size, the rotational periods of the outer planets are crazy fast, with Jupiter experiencing a sidereal day in just 10 hours!

  28. Live long and prosper
    To the well appointed desk that is
    Congrats on ten years!

  29. Our household LOVES space stories! My favorite movie about space is probably The Right Stuff… but there are so many great ones!
    This pen is AMAZING, so nice of Mr. Dudek to donate this beautiful piece!

  30. The gravity of black holes distort space and time around them causing time to run slower the closer you get to the black hole.

  31. “You’re not a space ranger. You don’t shoot laser or fly.”

    “Actually, I can fly”

    “No, you can’t.”

    “Yes, I can.”

    “Can’t. “



    “I could fly around this room with my eyes closed.”

    “Ok Mr Light Beer, prove it.”

    “Okay then I will. [Buzz then walks to the foot of the bed and climbs the bed post.] To Infinity and beyond.”

    Toy Story 1995 (quoted from memory)

  32. Our household LOVES space stories! My favorite movie about space is probably The Right Stuff… but there are so many great ones!
    Another thing is I was born right when one of the Apollo missions was heading to the moon!
    This pen is AMAZING, so nice of Mr. Dudek to donate this beautiful piece!

  33. I think the fact that the lat thing Buzz Aldrin did before stepping on the moon was pee is my favorite random trivia. The new (ish) Apollo 11 documentary also had some of the most amazing shots of that historic time.

  34. The Expanse is my absolute favorite space-related tv show… and also favorite space-y series of books. And audiobooks. I’ve been writing out the first book to practice my handwriting and use my fountain pens and inks. I want to get a tattoo inspired by the show, and represents orbits in the solar system.

  35. Cosmic fun fact: At the center of our galaxy there is a super giant black hole gobbling up stellar systems by the minute. While we, way out in the rural part of the Milky Way, are free to enjoy our pens and paper without worrying at all about such cosmic catastrophes.
    As always, thanks for doing the giveaway.

  36. Theoretically, two pieces of the exact same metal, with no protective layers in between them, can fuse together permanently if they press together. It is called “cold welding.” The metallic bonds that hold atoms together can bridge the gap between the atoms in the separate pieces and create one solid object.

  37. “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  38. Trivia, eh? You’re talking my game!

    There are more trees on Earth than there are stars in the Milky Way.

  39. Recently watched Ad Astra, and man that is a beautiful, haunting and uplifting movie. Really hit home and become one of my favourites during a stormy part of my life recently.

  40. I can still remember when astronaut Bill Pogue spoke to my 4th grade class. He was pilot of the Skylab 4 mission.

  41. oh man that pen is gorgeous. “I am the Doorway” by Stephen King has never left my mind since I was a kid and read it — I won’t be going on any spacetrips!

  42. From Mary Roach’s “Packing for Mars” – “Apollo 8 has 5,600,000 parts…Even if all functioned with 99.9 percent reliability, we could expect 5,600 defects.”

    As a former QA manager, this is the stuff of nightmares. 🙂

  43. Every single astronauts’ space suit was totally designed and made in Delaware! Go Delaware! Small but mighty!!

  44. Pale Blue Dot by Sagan! Thank you for yet another generous chance at a remarkable give away!!!

  45. June 16 is Captain Picard Day. The kids of the Enterprise D (and me) think he’s a role model.

  46. When we look at the night sky, we are actually looking into the past. Since the stars are so far away, it takes a long time for their light to reach us. Some of the stars we see may no longer exist.

  47. Saturn’s moon Titan has a dense atmosphere but relatively low gravity compared to Earth; one consequence of this is that you could fly on Titan by attaching “wings” to your arms and flapping.

  48. “Life, forever dying to be born afresh, forever young and eager, will presently stand upon this Earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars.”

    H. G. Wells, Science Fiction Author

  49. Make sure to listen to the podcast 13 minutes to the moon. Both seasons are fantastic!

  50. The Moon has a smell. The astronauts remarked it smelled like firecrackers after they exploded on a wet day, or the smell after a carbine fired. Moon dust is especially clingy. By the time the astronauts returned to earth, the smell was gone.

    From One Giant Leap by Charles Fishman

    I have The System mechanical pencil when it was black with color planets. The new version is lovely too. Thanks to Mike and Ana.

  51. One of my favorite science fiction novels is Neuromancer, by William Gibson—often referred to as a cyberpunk novel.

  52. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in the Twilight Zone.

  53. I had a physiology professor in college who went to space to study muscle loss and the physiological effects of space on the body. A few years ago, we took our kids to the see the space ship at the science museum and his picture was on the wall. It was something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I thought it was super cool.

  54. Sozin’s comet, occuring once every 100 years, drastically increases the power of firebenders

  55. “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

  56. Kennedy’s moon speech is still my favorite. “ We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

  57. My space trivia is remembering spending the night with my husband in a B&B in Concord OH where John Glenn grew up!

  58. When I was a kid, my favorite show was Lost in Space. I even wanted to be an astronomer. Librarian is close, right?

  59. That is a beutiful pen! Retired scientist here, and lo, my covetousness knows no bounds.

    My trivia is a movie quote from “2001 – A Space Odyssey.”
    “My God! It’s full of stars!”

    Yes. Yes it is. Even now, it STILL is.

    Stay safe!

    1. Ugh I kind of hate myself for saying this – that quote was in the book but not the film version of “2001”. It was added in to the next film, “2010”

  60. In reading Haruki Murakami’s novel “Sputnik Sweetheart” I first really understood that a DOG was sent up in the Sputnik launching, and that the venture was considered a failure and the satellite was not recovered. This was mentioned in an opening quote and made it difficult to concentrate on the book. I had to keep dragging my mind off the thought of this dog’s plight. Is it possible Murakami was wrong?? .

  61. When I was a kid, I learned how to read on books about the solar system. I remembered the author was Franklyn M. Branley – a name etched into my mind because it was so silly to a toddler. When my toddler became interested in space, I checked around and found that this author is still writing kids’ books on space! I picked up a couple and happy to say my son is just as interested as I was!

  62. Because I worked at a large bookstore near JPL I have met two astronauts who were on that first moon landing, each of whom came to the shop to talk about and sign their books. It is a trivial thing to most people, but to me, it meant the world . . . Or the moon at least.

  63. The Running group Half Fanatics i.e. those who run half marathons achievement levels are named after the planets. Starting with Neptune and moving towards the Sun. I presently have made it back to Earth (ran four half marathons in four days two years ago) after having been on Saturn for a number of years.

    Thank you Mike for your generous gift of such an amazing looking pen.

  64. I have enjoyed The Expanse series of books, the last of which is set to release soon and which is also an enjoyable show on Prime.

  65. I just love the fact that the moon landing came together so fast, with a lot of analog tech. It still amazes me.

  66. One of my undergraduate professors in college was a programmer for Voyager. On a related note, during the week before I graduated, the space shuttle Atlantis launched, so being done with finals and coursework, we drive down to Cape Canaveral from Gainesville to watch the launch.

  67. Such a pretty pen! I loved Ender’s Game, it was so eye-opening when I read it in high school. The movie has some great talents in it, but it just didn’t hit the same spot the book has.

  68. Rocket Men by Robert Kurson was a fantastic, well-researched, and compelling retelling of the story of Apollo 8 and the political backdrop of that dangerous mission full of unknowns and which eventually helped us actually reach the moon before 1970.

  69. The first primate in space was launched on June 14, 1949, exactly three years after Donald J Trump was born.

  70. I don’t have a favorite quote, movie or book, but my favorite image of space would be the Pillars of Creation

  71. There is a Ray Bradbury short story called “All Summer in a Day” where a young girl moves from Earth to a colony on Venus. On Venus, the sun only comes out for one hour every seven years—the rest of the time it constantly rains. Since the girl was born on Earth, she remembers seeing the sun and her classmates, born on Venus, do not believe her descriptions of the sun because it’s outside their realm of experience. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet fable, and one I return to often.

  72. I am old enough to have been taught that there were 9 planets in the solar system and not 8 like they currently teach.

  73. I’ve always enjoyed the rings of Saturn. The Solar System was also the first unit I taught as a teacher!

  74. My favorite quote related to space is about how everything is related to space and it comes from one of my favorite shows of all time, Babylon 5.

    It’s from the Season 2 Episode, “The Coming of Shadows” and is from a conversation between Sheridan and Delenn. There’s been a setback and Sheridan is trying to get a handle on it.

    It goes something like this:

    I wish I had your…faith in the universe. I just don’t see it sometimes.

    Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. And as we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective.

    Good happens. Shit happens. Sometimes they happen at the same time but most times they don’t.

    Or maybe they do all the time, but we humans usually notice just one or the other … at which point, that change of perspective that Delenn meant could come in handy, no doubt.

    Good, bad, both, neither, no matter what happens, we are all made of the same thing, from the same source, and we go back to it in part or whole, when we die.

    Some might find it bleak.

    I personally find it comforting, in a quirky odd way, as it’s like the universe’s way of saying that no matter how bad or how good it gets, it won’t last and it will get absorbed and redistributed and encountered again. Nothing ever gets destroyed, nothing ever really dies. It just changes a little and comes back as a new(er) combination.

    While this might mean that the bad stuff never goes away, it also means the good stuff never goes away either. Confirmation that joy will return because it can’t ever truly disappear is pretty darned uplifting and it girds you for when the crap hits the fan.

    Again: perspective!

    Also, while I realize that an opportunity to acquire a pen as cool as the one being offered here and now may very well come again, I’m hoping that perhaps I will be chosen to enjoy it now, instead of later. The universe’s clock runs on a somewhat vaster scale than a mere human’s and this may very well be a once-in-my-lifetime opportunity. LOL! Best try now.

  75. ‘Don’t Panic’ from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, just one of my favorites from the Douglas Adams classic.

  76. I was present for the launch of SpaceX’s SpaceShipOne… I was disappointed that it looked more like a plane ✈️ than a rocket .

  77. Mine is personal, but not happy, trivia: Christa McAuliffe was one of my middle school social studies teachers – just a wonderful person. Ms. McAuliffe was on the Space Shuttle Challenger.

  78. Wow, what a cool pen! An Air Force operator told me that space imaging systems can take a pictures of Seattle’s space needle and DC’s Washington Monument within a second. The scale of space is beyond my comprehension!

  79. When we first landed on the moon, they promised color TV of the landing and walk. My dad was an electronics/radio repair guy in the service and he always said color TVs weren’t ready for prime time and thus we wouldn’t buy one yet. My mother was NOT happy with that. She wanted color, and she wanted it now! Well, dad came home with one for the moon landing. And the color on the space craft went out. So we had to watch it in B&W… Neither one was happy about that! But mom got color TV!

  80. My husband’s dad worked on the Apollo 11’s hatch door. He was one of the engineers that Developed and tested the strength of the metal to survive reentry. We still have all his awards and photos with the astronauts on that mission. He retired after almost 42 years with McDonald Douglas/Boeing.

  81. I was six years old in 1969 and I have great memories of my dad letting me stay up way past bedtime; drinking a glass of Tang, watching all things Apollo11.

  82. My oldest daughter was obsessed with the color pink from the time that she could communicate her favorite color. Everything had to be pink, pink, pink. But when she was in 5th grade, she learned that Venus is a beautiful cerulean blue and she decided against pink and wanted everything turquoise! She still says Venus is her favorite planet.

  83. Based on Kepler data, astronomers estimate that there is, on average, at least one planet around every star.
    There are ~200 Billion stars in the Milky Way
    There are 100s of Billions of galaxies that we know of
    Which means that there are at least ~200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe, which is that many (and more because moons!) chances for life.

  84. There are more ways to order the cards in a deck of cards than there are stars in the universe.

  85. I have enjoyed the articles published for the 50th anniversary of each Apollo mission. I love that the real Jim Lovell plays the Captain of the ship that recovers the capsule in the Apollo 13 movie!

  86. My absolute favorite tv show about space travel is Doctor Who! I have been in love with this show since I was 15 years old and Tom Baker is my Doctor! Peter Capaldi is a pretty close 2nd though!

  87. My favourite space related book would probably be David Weber’s Safehold series. It moves slowly by times and too fast by others, but the characters take up residence in your heart. The enemy seems overwhelming, but the underdogs have great strength of heart….. Be prepared for a multi book saga though. Weber likes his casts of thousands and weaving together several subplots around the main one.

  88. “2001: A Space Odyssey“ was the first film I saw when I bought my first VCR. I watched it on my enormous 19” screen Zenith TV! It’s still my favorite film – tied with The Philadelphia Story.

  89. When the moon walk happened in 1969 we were on a ship traveling from Europe to the U.S.. At that time there was no way to provide television coverage in the middle of the ocean so the entire ship listened to the moon landing broadcast from the radio to the ship’s P.A. system.

  90. Favorite space related movie is Gattaca. That reminds me that I haven’t seen it in a while and I’m about due.

  91. Neil Armstrong is quoted ,in Life 4th July 1969 p18, as saying,” I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises”. A maxim to live by.

    Be well

  92. OK i have two… Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout (me too). I was at the BSA National Jamboree in Idaho when he was on the moon and he placed a call directly from the moon to all of the Scouts at the Jamboree during a large assembly. #2.. It’s so cold on Pluto that if you were standing on it’s surface the air in your lungs (and the rest of you, too) would instantly freeze solid.

  93. The original requirement for the Apollo missions was only to stream audio from the moon, not video. An engineer from the subcontractor who built the radio had to lobby NASA to convince them that streaming video was possible through the existing bandwidth, and worth changing the requirements to include the capability. Imagine the conspiracy theories if we only had audio of Armstrong’s first steps!

  94. SPACE. Well lets start with a book and TV series every scifi nerd needs to read/watch. The Expanse!
    It doesnt include Faster than light space ships so things get real lonely in the black. The main characters are the best, everyone will have a different favourite.
    I own the OG Space retro 51, this would be a fine addition to my collection.

  95. Favorite quote from a sci-fi movie from Serenity: “ A year from now, 10, they’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave.” ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

  96. Wow what an amazing looking pen! Fact: a NASA scientist (friend of mine) has developed technology for seeing underwater as well as into deep space based on algorithms for removing the distortion caused by wave undulation (or the space equivalent).

  97. I really enjoyed seeing the Corvette that belonged to Apollo XII astronaut Al Bean in DC last year. Very unique vehicle with a great old-school paint scheme. Thanks for the giveaway!

  98. What a lovely giveaway. That pen is incredible. I really love Nolan’s Interstellar; the way he illustrated the relativity of time cleared up some confusion for this layperson.

  99. My children have taken an interest in space-related things recently. We were looking at pictures of star formations that are incredible and we came across a neat one called The Eye of God.

  100. I love that due to the vast distances, when we look at the farthest things we can see were looking millions of years into the past!

  101. It’s estimated that approx. 1300 Earth’s can fit inside the volume of Jupiter. Also Jupiter’s mass is more than 2.5 times that of all the other planets in our solar system combined!

    I’m often awed by the vastness of space.

  102. “Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds . . . to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.”

  103. Although someone already said it, I have to agree…13 Minutes to the Moon is an excellent podcast!

  104. You can see the International Space Station from Earth with the naked eye, and it moves really fast in orbit!

  105. Gas giants are failed stars!

    For some reason, this has always struck me as a weirdly romantic way to describe planets like Jupiter and Saturn (because as gas giants, they contain some of the same elements as a star.)

  106. “If Mars formed life, then life on Earth could have been seeded by life on Mars, make every life on earth descended from Martians.” Neil deGrasse Tyson. My favorite science guy.

  107. One of my favorite books as a kid was “The How and Why Wonder Book of the Sun, Moon, and the Stars.” It kicked off a fascination with space and science fiction.

  108. Did you know you can see the International Space Station from earth? I saw it once with a Space Shuttle in orbit behind. A once in a lifetime viewing!

  109. Amazing pen! My husband likes the star wars stuff much more than me…so I don’t have a comment…!

  110. The coolest thing about space is we have gone. The next coolest thing about space is that our initial trips there brought the world together for a few moments, and lastly the images from space give us perspective that we rarely take into consideration.

  111. Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. HAL9000

  112. My favorite reference is clearly Pluto on the pen.

    Fingers crossed, I have the pen, pencil, and duo sleeve. I don’t know where I would put this one…

  113. I love reading Anne Mccaffrey’s Pern novels. I find the travel from Earth to three Rukbat system so exciting.

  114. “I’m comfortable with the unknown — that’s the point of science. There are places out there, billions of places out there, that we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about them excites me, and I want to go out and find out about them.

    And that’s what science is.”
    -Brian Cox

  115. While The Martian is fantastic movie and book and the author, Andy Weir, did his due diligence with scientific research and crowd sourcing scientist to ensure good science the dust storm is just a plot device. Mars does get dust storms, the atmospheric pressure is so low that the wind is negligible and wouldn’t have the strength to throw Mark Watney and spear him with broken equipment.

  116. I saw a space shuttle riding piggyback and got to see the International Space Station with the naked eye.

  117. I can’t believe there’s one of these up for grabs. I’ve always been so taken with the tiny Jupiter.

    Do you ever watch Psych? I love it when Gus tries to use “Can you believe it about Pluto?” as a pick up line.

  118. “A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars- billions upon billions of stars. Every star may be a sun to someone.” Carl Sagan – Cosmos

  119. Wow, so cool! Thanks to you and Mike for this chance. I don’t know any space related trivia, but a recommendation: if you are even in Florida, go to the space center! I was there last year and it was very fun and interesting. Only do this when it is safe again of course.

  120. My current favorite space fact: astronomers are using slime mold to map the universe’s dark matter!!!

  121. I heard the other day that there are more viruses and parts of viruses in our bodies than there are stars in the universe.

  122. Finally getting to see 2001: a space odyssey on a big screen when it was re-released a few years back was special. Whoever said sci-fi can encompass anything and everything while ‘serious’ literature is confined to the mundane present (or words to that effect). Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot speech and Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Keith Laumer’s Retief books with aliens who speak in the infinitive: to remember with fondness.

  123. There is an “interplanetary bike ride” that starts in Peoria Illinois, that rides through a to-scale model of the solar system. For example, there is a bolder sized model of Jupiter at the train station, and 40ish miles up the road is a pea sized model of Pluto hosted by a gas station . All distances and models to scale.

  124. Loved science fiction from a very young age. The first series I remember reading – and I have read it over and over – is the Lensman series by E.E. “Doc” Smith. Wonderful for the time. Still stands up, though everyone smokes 🙂

    Gimme any space opera and I’m hooked. If you haven’t tried it yet, find anything by Michael Anderle on Amazon. He’s built a wonderful universe with lots of spinoff story arcs. The main series is “The Kurtherian Gambit”.

    To infinity, and FAR FAR beyond.

  125. The original Star Trek episode where Kirk and Ohura kiss still hasn’t aired in some places on network TV.

  126. Buzz Aldrin and I are Facebook friends, and we wear the same MIT ring (well, almost the same. Different class years…)

  127. They left it out of the movie, but in Carl Sagan’s book “Contact” the alien tells Dr. Arroway that they have discovered that if you calculate Pi out far enough, it becomes a repeating binary code, 0s and 1s, in base 11. The theological import is staggering, that there must be some intelligent design behind the very creation of the universe for a code to have been hidden in one of the fundamental constants of space and time.

    No, they never solved the code.

  128. A description of homeopathy dilutions: 1/10^400 is equivalent to taking one grain of rice, crushing to a powder and dissolving it in a sphere of water the size of the Solar System, with the Sun at the center and the orbit of Pluto at the outside (giving this sphere a radius of 3.67 billion miles), and then repeating that process 8 more times in a series. Now, if that isn’t dilute, I don’t know what is.

  129. Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

  130. My favorite pick-up line of all time, from the tv show PSYCH: “Did you hear about Pluto? That’s messed up, right?”

  131. One of my very favorite space-related books is The Martian by Andy Weir. It’s full of both hard science and humor!

  132. Love The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. Great series for readers out there!
    Thanks for the giveaway. This is an awesome pen!

  133. The only reason I was able to correctly answer a recent Jeopardy question about White Sands NM was because it was featured in the 80s movie Space Camp.

  134. My father was one of five engineers in charge of the Apollo project (he was in charge of data recording and transmission). All the design work was completed by 1963, done without computers, using slide rules and adding machines (they used ten-digit logarithmic tables with adding machines to do precise multiplication and division). One of my best memories is 13 year old me watching the first moon landing live on TV.

  135. “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
    Most people over a certain age will know why that’s a space-related quote…

  136. Hidden Figures was a great movie I also loved Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.

  137. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and others. I really like the theme and everything related to space. Happy birthday The Well Appointed Desk.

  138. It would be wonderful to win the all-alloy pen to go along with the matching Retro 51 The System pen and pencil I have.
    My most fun space related trivia: as school principal, each year I accompanied our fourth grade classes on their overnight field trip to Boston’s Museum of Science. One of the highlights of the trip was vieweing a film in the Omni Theater. And the shows began with the booming and echoing voice of Leonard Nimoy welcoming us to the show. He was chosen as he was born near the site of the museum.

  139. My favorite book about space is Hidden Figures (great movie, too) telling the incredible and inspiring story of the women that helped get us into space while facing countless challenges.

    I am amazed by the beauty found in the Hubble Space Telescope images.

    In the did you know category: The wonderful space museum, the Cosmosphere, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum Is In the middle of Kansas (only 200 miles away from where I live). It is a must visit for anyone in the Midwest or for those interested in space and not discouraged by the distance.

  140. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ( in french Rencontres du troisième type) by Stephen Spielberg, with one of my favorite french film maker François Truffaut!
    I have watched this movie a long time ago, I will be happy to do it! This pen is gorgeous!

  141. In 1965 Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov almost died during his spacewalk. His suit ballooned up so much that it became stiff which make it difficult to move and not possible to enter the airlock. He had to force a bleed off below the safety limits. A few months later, the American astronaut Ed White struggled with the same deadly problem due to the level of secrecy between the two nations.

  142. My parents used to live in Ocala, Florida. It is ~100 miles from Cape Canaveral, but the space shuttle was really bright in the sky when I was lucky enough to be visiting during a launch.

  143. To infinity and beyond!
    If I were to have only one Retro 51, this would be the one.

  144. That a large “Planet X” might be out there affecting the orbits of objects on the fringe of the solar system, but we can’t seem to find it to be sure! I love that we’re still discovering things in our own backyard.

  145. “Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never persistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.”

    From Frank Herbert’s Dune.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  146. My favorite Space movie ever is Aliens.

    It’s got TWO bad-ass heroes in Vasquez and Ripley, a cute cat, an exoskeleton suit, and some of the scariest aliens of all time.

    Honestly, my favorite movie franchise.

  147. Space – or really near space trivia. Clocks run at different rates depending on the gravitational potential. The GPS satellites are in orbits with a different gravitational potential that causes the clocks to run at about one part in 10^12 different than clocks at the surface of the earth. We have to correct for the clock rates for the atomic clocks that are flying in the satellites. Bonus trivia, there is a similar sized shift due to the satellites’ velocity (another relativistic shift).

  148. My favorite bit of true trivia was back in 1965 when my parents took me to New York City to see the Ticker-Tape parade for Gus Grissom and John Young after their Gemini 3 flight. A New York Post reporter spotted me and interviewed me (appearing on the front page). I was devastated two years later when Gus lost his life in an Apollo 1 pre-launch test in 1967. He has always remained one of my space heroes.

  149. My favorite space fact (and most interesting thing I learned in middle school) is that if you were to jump feet first into a black hole the difference in gravity at your head and your feet would be so different that you you get stretched out like a noodle. And this is gloriously called….. spaghettification.

  150. Two black holes collided in 2015 and formed one super black hole. The energy produced from the collision created the first observable set of gravitational waves, confirming a prediction that Einstein made about relativity in 1915.

  151. My favorite space-themed show is Firefly. I hope that in the future space travel is so common that there is a used spaceship market. And if it that happens, I expect that future will look a lot more like Firefly than Star Trek. Also, the Firefly theme song may be one of the best ever.

    My current favorite bit of space trivia is that there are a few known white dwarf stars that are basically giant diamonds.

  152. What a beautiful pen!

    I have some much love for space. I blame it partly on my elementary school district—all the schools were named after space shuttles and astronauts came to speak to us. I even got to watch a shuttle land! It was so cool!

    I love “the planets” by holst. John Williams “borrowed” heavily from this work when he did the Star Wars soundtracks.

  153. My favorite space story from the early manned missions is that Charlie Duke apparently could not stop talking about how black space was, and John Young kept pointing it out, like: “That’s time number 35 you’ve said that.” At one point he told the ground (I think during a press conference?) “Charlie’s already said everything he has to say about it, and he’s said it about 52 times already. Want to hear Charlie’s words?” and Charlie chimed right in: “Boy, is it black out there!”

  154. My favorite space books are “Apollo 13” and “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I think Jim Lovell would handle surviving with the crew of the Heart of Gold pretty well, but Swigart might have enjoyed the Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters more…

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