It is December and in one way or the other we are all preparing for the holiday season. The spirit of giving is ever present. ESPI gladly supports all of you who are still looking for a spacey present in order to give joy to the scientist, politician, philosopher, poet, astronaut, child, astronomer, romantic, lawyer, rocket engineer and cineaste in your family or circle of friends with the below list of ideas. However we want to underline that this list of examples is the result of a brainstorming and certainly does not claim to be complete.


For Space Cowboys and those who want to find their place in universe there are a number of apps available.

Pocket Universe

Spot the Station

Space Images
iOs, Android

Solar Walk  -3D

Galaxy Collider

Mobile Observatory

Moon Atlas

BOINC, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing app,
to follow “Breakthrough Listen” project and Stephen Hawking´s search for extraterrestrial life

Books and Graphic Novels

Literature not only reflects on scientific findings, it also provides room for authors to bring closer the stories of famous pioneers and gives your imagination room for utopian speculations.

ESPI literature:

For instance, "When China goes to the Moon", by Marco Aliberti, for those interested in geopolitics
or "European Autonomy in Space" for those reflecting on how Europe should position itself in the world

ESA literature:

Biography Roy Gibson
“Mémoires/Recollections” Interview with Roy Gibson by André Lebeau

Best space books and science fiction

Moonfire / Norman Mailer

The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Earth and Space, Photographs from the archives of Nasa, by Bill Nye

The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Time Machine, by HG Wells

Isaac Newton: Organizing the Universe, by William J. Boerst

Two New Sciences, by Galileo Galilei, e-book/Kindle

Light - A National Poetry Day Book (2015), by Gaby Morgan, e-book/Kindle

George's Secret Key to the Universe
George and the Big Bang
Both children’s books are by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (children’s book), by Brian Floca

The Adventures of Tintin: Explorers on the Moon, by Hergé

Astronaut Dad, by David Hopkins & Brent Schoonover

Space Brothers, by Chūya Koyama

Laika, by Nick Abadzis

Planets, by Makoto Yukimura

Entering Space, by Robert Zubrin

Next steps exploring deep space, edited by Wes Huntress

From here to reality, by Martin Rees

The cosmos century, by Malcolm Longhair

Surviving 1,000 centuries, can we do it?, by Roger-Maurice Bonnet, Lodewijk Woltjer

Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov

Dune, by Frank Herbert

Ender’s Game (and sequels), by Orson Scott Card

The man in the high castle, Philip K. Dick

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

The Martian, by Andy Weir

Computer games

EVE Online



The endlessness of the night sky and the question how far one can see to infinity have been two recurrent themes for a number of documentaries and movies.

HUBBLE – The Movie

Voyage to the Planets and Beyond, BBC DVD

Planet Earth, David Attenborough, BBC DVD

A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick

Apollo 13, Ron Howard

Elysium, Neill Blomkamp

The Fifth Element, Luc Besson

Total Recall, Paul Verhoeven

Star Track (2009), JJ Abrams

Star Wars hexalogy (soon heptalogy!)

Europa Report, Sebastian Cordéro

Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven

The Right Stuff, Philip Kaufman

Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón

Serenity, Hoss Whedon

Destination Moon (1950), Irving Pichel

Space Cowboys, Clint Eastwood

Interstellar, Christopher Nolan

Armageddon, Michael Bay

Space Jam, Joe Pytka

Mars Attacks!, Tim Burton

Spaceballs, Mel Brooks

Independence Day, Roland Emmerich

Event Horizon, Paul W.S. Anderson

The Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn

The hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, Garth Jennings

Moon, Duncan Jones

Solaris, Steven Soderbergh

The Alien Series, Lost in space

1998, Stephen Hopkins

1965, Irwin Allen

Mission to Mars, Brian de Palma

Odysee, Gunner Wright

Coherence, James Ward Byrkit

Iron Sky, Timo Vuorensola

Super 8, J.J. Abrahams

War of the Worlds, Steven Spielberg

Wall-E, Andrew Stanton

The Astronauts’ Wife, Rand Ravich

E.T., Steven Spielberg

The fourth Type, Olatunde Osunsanmi

Le Voyage dans la Lune, Georges Méliès

Blade Runner, Ridley Scott

Avatar, James Cameron

Movies with a planetarium component

Local Hero (one character has a planetarium installed in his office), Peter Riegert

Mystic Pizza – one character works at the local planetarium, Donald Petrie

Rebel Without a Cause – Griffith Observatory, Nicholas Ray

Finding Forrester - Rose Centre for Earth and Space, Gus Van Sant


Both the creation and the Moon fascinated generations of musicians. Our proposal, buy a CD, a ringtone or look up if there is a concert in your city.

The Creation, oratorio by Joseph Haydn

Song to the Moon, from the opera Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák
(Netrebko version is superb!)

Child of the Moon, Rolling Stones

Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth), Arnold Schönberg

That´s amore (When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie), Dean Martin

Moonlight Serenade, Glenn Miller Orchestra

Aquarius, from the musical “Hair”

Man on the moon, R.E.M.

Dark side of the moon, album from Pink Floyd

Fly me to the moon, Frank Sinatra

Blue Moon, The Marcels

Vincent (Starry, Starry Night), Don McLean

Space Oddity, David Bowie

Spaceman, The Killers


Space lectures

The Royal Institution:

Planetarium/Experimentarium/Museum of Natural History
Look up the calendar of your local Planetarium, Experimentarium or Museum of Natural History and book a ticket for events like picnics, sleep-over arrangements, stargaze dinners or a walk in the Milky Way. Here are a couple of examples representative of a wide range of offers:

Night at the museum arranged by the Museum of Natural History, Vienna

Moonlight Dinner, as for example arranged by the Zeiss Planetarium

Celebrate an astronomical Christmas at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Copenhagen

There are a number of local websites available particularly specialised on museum sleep-overs as for example for London the website  “Museum Sleep Overs”

If you want to immerse yourself completely in the Star Wars experience

Toys for big and small astronerds

To experiment, research and learn while playing is fun activity for big and small children. So ‘be foolish’ as recommended by Steve Jobs and get bricks for space ships and space structures or DIY solar system mobiles. For those of you who are out of paper mache, wire and paint box we can provide an exemplary shortlist of toys:

Lego City 3367 - Space Shuttle
Lego Space Port 6452 Mini Rocket Launcher
LEGO City Spaceport 60080
LEGO City Space Starter Set 60077
LEGO City Utility Shuttle 60078
Lego Discovery, International Space Station
Bresser junior AstroPlanetarium
KOSMOS 676810 Planetarium
Skywatcher Teleskop N 76/300 Infinity
Solar System Mobile Making Kit

Or follow the ESA/Kids website


Space jewelry by Interplanetary Design

LostinSpace Jewelry

The Space Store: Meteorite Jewelry


Morris Costumes, Astronaut costume for adults

Forum Novelties Child's Astronaut Costume

Aeromax astronaut boots

Individual recommendations by our ESPI team members

Arne Lahcen, Resident Fellow
Visit – which has national versions for the different European countries according to their respective domain names – and search for the terms “space” or “outer space”. You will find thousands of posters related to space, going from breath-taking pictures of the universe and the solar system planets to artistic interpretations of astronauts, UFO’s and aliens.

Peter Hulsroj, Director
Without a doubt the book ‘Our Mathematical Universe’ by Max Tegmark. This book will blow your mind, and will give you so many interesting things to think about, like ‘how many universes are there?’, ‘how many different kinds?’ ‘is the only true reality math?’. Go for it! Considering the topic it is relatively easy to read.

Enjoy the togetherness

Your ESPI Team


Yearbook on Space Policy

A Fresh View on the Outer Space Treaty

Space Resource Utilization: A View from an Emerging Space Faring Nation

When China Goes to the Moon...

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