The Observable Universe

Pablo Carlos Budassi created a dazzling logarithmic visualization of the observable universe in 2013:
Observable Universe in One Image

Observable Universe in One Image. Credit: Pablo Carlos Budassi/Wikimedia Commons

The illustration features our solar system at the very center, followed by “inner and outer planets, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri, Perseus Arm, Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, nearby galaxies, Cosmic Web, Cosmic microwave radiation and Big Bang’s invisible plasma on the edge,” according to Wikimedia Commons.
What do you think, does the image make you feel big or small in the grand scheme of things? I think it’s beautiful.
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There’s Little Faith in Humanity

So last week a hashtag was trending on Twitter: #GreetTheAliensIn5Words

Since we love all things sci-fi (aliens ❤ ), we decided to observe common themes among responses. You probably won’t be surprised, many Tweets painted Earth and humanity in a very negative light:

Reflecting on Failure of Humanity

Reflecting on Failure of Humanity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand that we’re not perfect, and we’ve probably failed more at most things than succeeded, but does this disappointment of humanity go deeper, or are these Tweets just spur of the moment jests? I think we need a clinical psychologist to get involved in this conversation, don’t be shy to jump in and add your thoughts… Also people felt that running away from Earth was necessary to find something/somewhere better:

Running Away to a Hopeful Better Place

Running Away to a Hopeful Better Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we are collectively aware of humanity’s shortfalls, then why aren’t we discussing solutions, rather than just sharing our miseries? Is it because we feel that positive change is beyond our individual powers? Have we really reached a stage of hopelessness in our Earth’s history? Here are two Tweets which I thought where more optimistic/ legit that I could get behind:

Tweets That Made the Most Sense

Tweets That Made the Most Sense

How would you greet the aliens, and what is your take on the underlying emotions present in the majority of the responses, are you concerned or complacent when it comes to having faith in humanity?

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Why Other Potential Habitable Planets are so Far Away

I just realized something the other day; I figured out why other potentially habitable planets are so far away. Yes, this may be seen as a conspiracy theory, and if you don’t like that then treat this post as a science-fiction short story idea.

Wolf 1061c

Wolf 1061c

Firstly, you should know that our nearest potentially habitable exoplanet is Wolf 1061c, which is about 14 light years away. Ok, moving on… When organisms are cultured in a Petri dish, they are usually cultivated in isolation. Each organism/bacteria or mold is put into a separate Petri dish (this is usually to avoid cross contamination).

Potentially Habitable Exoplanets

Potentially Habitable Exoplanets

So maybe all the habitable planets in our universe are so far apart from each other (isolated) to avoid cross contamination of the different species being cultivated within each planet. Maybe, whoever is observing us wants to see how each species thrives in the same environment through independent evolutions (which species evolves the best under the same conditions). Like, there may be a species ranking/ leaderboard, where the best performing planets are ranked 1, 2, 3… I wonder where Earth/humans as a Petri dish/specimen combination are ranking on the universal leaderboard.

Do you think we could be living in the equivalent of a giant Petri dish or something similar? Please share your thoughts…

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Asteroid Mining

Do you remember Weyland and Seegon corporations from Alien Isolation? They were the guys involved with deep space exploration, colonization and space mining! Basically, science-fiction today is reality tomorrow…

Working Joe of Seegson Corporation

Working Joe of Seegson Corporation

Certain countries and companies are already investing in space mining! Seriously; this is either really cool (as a bold endeavor), or a shame that we are extending our reach in the universe just to subtract more from it. The mineral payload found in asteroids could be exponential, but will it offset the hardware and logistics costs involved in extraction?

Asteroid Payload - World Economic Forum

Asteroid Payload – World Economic Forum

What are your thoughts on asteroid mining? Do you think it’s immoral that we keep taking from the universe instead of putting back, or are you just excited that we are adventuring into space?

Read more about Asteroid Mining here.

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The CIA declassified thousands of UFO sightings

So if you haven’t been up to date with the latest news, the CIA declassified thousands of UFO and alien sightings that have taken place around the world! All of the documents released pertain to the period between 1940s – 1960s. No, unfortunately Roswell was left off the list; it’s still classified, which leads me to believe that it’s all real and they’re still trying to hide stuff (Area 51 vibes):

Via CIA website

Via CIA website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve given a few documents a read. Head on over to their website if you are keen to learn more. I always knew we weren’t alone in the universe. Let me know what you think…

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Let’s Make a Satellite!

I’ve been trying to educate myself on how to build a satellite. I don’t want to spy on anyone, and I don’t want to commandeer any Earth media to make derailed broadcasts or anything, but it’d be totally cool just to have your own satellite roaming in orbit and potentially exploring space. The problem with this is; most satellites are only for near-Earth orbit.

PocketQube Kit

PocketQube Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I would use my satellite to try to communicate with potential aliens (yes I know there are qualified people already using sophisticated technology on these sorts of endeavors, but can we trust that these people are communicating the right messages on our behalf hmmm? Exactly!)

PocketQube Board

PocketQube Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So basically my satellite would communicate my message representation of humanity (brief history, a future projection of our needs, and how we might expect to collaborate with the receivers of the information).

PocketQube Panel

PocketQube Panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a Google search, and 3 ambitious links later, I have more knowledge on how to build my satellite. However, building it is not as complicated as having to launch/ get it into space successfully. Apparently at the least it will cost US$ 40 000, and it will only probably stay in orbit for about 1 – 4 months. That’s a huge short term expense. Anyhow, you can buy parts (or a full satellite) from PocketQube, but it’s still pretty expensive. Would you go for this or somehow build your own?

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Retro Grid

I’ve been playing Retro Grid on my phone, which is like a revamp on old school endless arcade shooter games.

Retro Grid Video Game

Retro Grid Video Game

It really is reminiscent of Space Invaders, which is why I love it so much – I’m reminded of those good old gaming memories when I play it. Since it’s on your phone, its touch based. You hold the screen to keep a steady stream of projectile fire, and wherever your finger moves, your spacecraft follows.

Retro Grid Boss Fight

Retro Grid Boss Fight

During the game you collect and are rewarded with coins, which you can use at the end of the game to buy a better and bigger spaceship.

Retro Grid High Score

Retro Grid High Score

Don’t be shy, go ahead and download Retro Grid, let me know when you beat my score!

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Shire Post Mint

Don at Shire Post Mint has given me permission to share a really cool post of theirs! Shire Post Mint is one of the authentic producers of the Faceless Man coin from Game of Thrones!

Coins in Orbit

Coins in Orbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of Shire Post Mint’s autographed coins were sent into orbit. So if you want to own an item that combines science-fiction with fantasy; you need to get your hands on some of their coins. Read the full article here!

Faceless Man Coin

Faceless Man Coin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their coins are highly detailed and made from traditional coin-making equipment. You can shop online for your collection here!

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My Night Time Dreams

Sometimes when I dream at night; it’s not a dream at all. It will feel as though I’m experiencing a very real moment. As soon as I realise that I may be dreaming; or that my current experience is outside the realm of what is acceptable ‘reality’; I usually wake up / become the normal sort of conscious.

Dream 1: 3D Wire-frame World

I must have just fallen asleep when this experience happened. I was in my bed; facing the wall. The more I stared at the wall the more it began to transform before me. The corner edge where the wall at the head of my bed met the wall along the length of my bed was no longer a seamlessly straight line. Irregular pockets along the walls started to recess; caverns started to form; jagged edges started to protrude. The architectural deformation of my bedroom occurred simultaneously with changes in my surrounding’s colours and lighting. Everything went dark green – almost grey. The topography of my bedroom’s raised and hollow surfaces was highlighted by a light-grey/green grid layered on top of the darker background. It was as though a 3D Cartesian Plane had been wallpapered throughout my bedroom. The wire-frame model that had become my surrounding world was not the strangest thing I experienced that evening. Three white-hot silhouetted figures were standing in the vacancy of the massively growing cavern in the corner of my room. I’m certain that the largest of the three figures was reaching out to me. At this point, I started to convince myself that this was not real – and that was not a good idea… The strain I experienced in trying to mentally fight off this ‘dream’ almost forced my body into a seizure (at least it felt that way). By the time I had ‘woken up’ and the view around me had normalised; I was already sitting upright in my bed, flailing my arms, punching at or swatting off something or someone who clearly wasn’t there (maybe they were there; just in a parallel dimension incomprehensible to us when awake). Maybe this is how the world really looks, and we humans just see a cosmetically beautiful world draped over these wire-frames.

white light figures

White Light figures reaching out to me

3D Wireframe World

3D Wireframe World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream 2: I Am the Universe

Moving on… This one really gave me heart palpitations. I was lying on my stomach on my bed, facing away from the wall into the openness of my room. Again the view started to change dramatically. Everything had fallen away, there was no ‘ground’ – I was floating, consumed by darkness, surrounded by infinite Space. The dark, cold silence forced me to plank where I lay, using only my head to rotate my view. I saw planets, Nebulae and other matter in such crisp and beautiful detail. Either these objects or I was moving, because we were passing each other by (at times very quickly). I am sure I was stationary, only observing. How could I be alive in Space? I thought to myself, still breathing. A reply from an unseen genderless voice came from nowhere, ‘One day you will die, and this is what you will become. You belong to the Universe and one day you will return to it.’ That’s pretty much when the heart palpitations started. I woke up; again flailing my arms, trying to gain my balance and grip onto a fixed object (still thinking that I may be falling or drifting through Space). My eyes adjusted, and my bedroom seemed to be its normal self, but not trusting what I believed this dimension to be a delusion, my eyes darted back and forth from wall to wall with scrutiny – I knew this world was hiding the truth from me, just waiting for me to fall asleep again before revealing its authentic self.

I Am the Universe

I Am the Universe

Dream 3: The Universe Snaps Back

Never mind the Universe snapping back, when I experience this re-occurring dream, it feels as though my brain is collapsing on itself (obviously my mind is struggling to comprehend the magnitude and size of the Universe firstly, and secondly the unfolding scale of such a catastrophic event is equally incomprehensible to my human mind). So I’m in my bed, and somehow I end up visualising the Universe shrinking. Essentially I am the nucleus of the Universe, because it continues to shrink uniformly around me, with me being the end-point/core. It is like I have cast out a giant invisible fisherman’s net that starts pulling all matter toward me at an increasing rate. With this I see planets colliding, matter being obliterated, and nearer the end; the moon starts to fall from the sky and eventually gets violently compressed into the Earth. Pressure builds, and I cover my ears with my hands. In a foetal position I brace to be squashed like a poorly engineered Bathysphere under the weight of the deepest ocean. I wake up – freaking out as per usual. I sit up taking deep breaths to try and calm down. With this dream (and dream 4) I reluctantly get out of bed upon waking and sidle to my curtains. I open my curtains and peer out my window just to make sure that the sky looks ‘normal’. Although, whether the sky looked ‘normal’ or not, I’m not sure what difference it’d make, as I’m only human and wouldn’t be able to stop any apocalypse (it’ll probably just lead to me freaking out for my last five remaining minutes of life). I want to highlight; that akin to this dream (and dream 4), is a re-occurring dream of the sun exploding and engulfing us. It has a very similar unfolding and outcome so I wont go into it in detail.

Universe Collapsing

Universe Collapsing

Dream 4: Atom Bomb on the Horizon 

I’ll be lying in bed, and my curtains will literally be illuminated with an ominous orange glow. Naturally the light bothers me and sparks the negative kind of mystery/curiosity that prompts me to leave the warmth of my bed. Is there a wild fire or some rave party going on outside? I get to the curtains and hesitantly draw a narrow slit open. HELLO! SURPRISE! This is far worse than a wild fire (or a rave party 🙂 ). Flocks of agitated birds have been dispersed into the dimly lit sky. I wish I had the animal instinct of identifying all types of dangers, but all I am left with is paranoid thoughts. My windows start to shudder at the reverberation of a sinister force. I slowly back away from the glass. Instantly my concentration is pulled elsewhere, my eyes focus on movements beyond my window. High-reaching plumes of orange-hued ash tower over the horizon. My windows suddenly shatter with the force of a blast that knocks me painfully to my bedroom floor. I lay there staring at my nicked flesh. Shaking, sweating and paralysed with fear, I roll to face the opening where my glass window had once been. Rumbling. Roaring. Is that thunder? A volcanic eruption?  A pyroclastic flow starts to shroom in size, hungry to engulf everything in its path. The warm colours on the horizon grow in size and brightness, until I am forced to squeeze my eyes shut at the painful intrusion of light. The blistering tsunami of hot ash and gas rolls toward me, stripping life in its wake. As soon as its about to hit me, I wake up. I freak out. Then I actually go and check out my window to make sure our bordering parallel dimensions aren’t messing with me and hurting my feelings.

Atom Bomb on the Horizon

Atom Bomb on the Horizon

Dream 5: Seeing Dead People Returned to Their Former Glory

No, this dream is nothing like the movie The Sixth Sense. It is far less scary, yet still very ‘real’. Sometimes, when family members or identifiable celebrities in the world actually pass away, I may dream of them a little while after their passing. This dream does tie up to dream 2 above (the part about dying and what happens thereafter). Basically, any ailments you have in life will not accompany you after death. Also, you return to an age where you were at your prime/happiest (as decided by the individual themselves). This is because you belong to the Universe, and the Universe returns you to your former glory when your consciousness leaves your Earthly body. My grandmother had a disease that physically crippled her body. When I dreamed of her after she passed, she was young; walking fine and happy. My mom’s grandmother was in a beautiful garden; walking through it, young and at peace. I have never seen a movie where Christopher Lee was young, but I saw him in a dream where he was young, lush and laughing at someone’s conversation. I Googled him thereafter, and it was spot-on. I have had a lot of these dreams (too many to list here) and I have spoken to a few people who have had similar dreams.

I See Dead People

I See Dead People

Dream 6: Having / Hearing Full Memorable Conversations

Just because I hear voices doesn’t mean I’m crazy. Some of my best ideas/realisations/inspiration has come from a voice in the air. I was almost asleep the one evening, and I had been having an argument with the Almighty. I was rather upset. I was complaining and asking a lot of questions. Suddenly, when I was halfway between sleeping and awake, the voice replied to me. It gave me a business idea that was more than just a business; it was a solution to a huge global problem. I bolted upright in my bed looking for the source of this voice. I was alone in my bedroom. My heart was beating so fast (I was freaking out again), but eventually I looked up and thanked the mysterious voice for such a wonderful idea. I made a note of it on my phone so that when I awoke the next morning I’d be able to start working on it and expand it. This business is currently in its prototype stages.

Conversations With a Voice

Conversations With a Voice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream 7: Time Travel Lapse (Old Me Speaking to Young Me)

This is eerie with a bit of a cool twist. I was totally asleep by the time I started seeing this dream unfold. I was at my primary school (it looked the way it did when I was in primary school – it’s actually changed since then). I saw the young me standing there and talking to a circle of friends (whom I – older me –  didn’t recognise). Young me was laughing and happy, and eventually saw me (older me) staring at her. Younger me came to older me and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how all of this was going to turn out? If we knew exactly what the future had in store for us?’ I smiled at her and replied, ‘But we do know… It all ends with the third world war, started (and dominated) by the (nation/country will not be named here).’ Young me looked at older me shocked. I was smiling maniacally at her, because I knew more than she did. I woke up then (you guessed it – freaking out).

Time Travel Lapse

Time Travel Lapse

Dream 8: Making Physical Contact

I had fallen asleep on my right side, and i was halfway between sleeping and awake again. Somehow I sensed that there was a figure behind me (between the remainder of my mattress and the wall). So suddenly i lifted my left arm in an elbow-jabbing motion, and i made contact with someones face – i swear i hit them in the jaw, they were lying next to me in bed and their face was getting so close to my face when i hit them. The impact was so real it woke me up and i rolled over to see this person’s silhouette fading away. They were gone, but the tingling sensation in my elbow remained, which led me to believe the impact was real, someone had been there (from another dimension). I couldn’t have hit the wall with a mere elbow jab motion as i was still half a meter from the wall even after full jab extension. I immediately and humbly apologized to the universe for causing harm to anyone who was watching over me (I didn’t want them coming back for revenge or anything).

Elbow Jab

Elbow Jab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream 9: The Grim Reaper Spoke To Me

I was so sick last year (2015), I don’t want to gripe, but it’s part of the story. I saw my GP in April/May 2014 for this phlegm cough I’d been having for some time. He gave me inhalers and said it was asthma (even though i’d never had asthma). In August 2014 I saw a different GP and he too gave me some inhalers and sent me for chest x-rays (they were clear). In December 2014 I collapsed when i couldn’t breath and my first GP said I had bad bronchitis and gave me anti-biotics. I booked to see a lung specialist in February 2015. He assured me it was asthma, even though my condition worsened after being hospitalized with all sorts of drugs for a week. It was March and I was back at home, feeling very much the opposite of Hercules. I fell asleep one night and in my dream I was in my bed awake. I saw this black fog of smoke swell at the floor by the window of my bedroom. The smoke at the floor created like a concealed portal or something, because straight up and out of this smoke rose a robed imperial figure (like a ring wraith). This guy is tall ok, like towering! I think he’d have to duck to fit through a door frame – he could probably fill out Darth Vader’s suit without hassle. His robe sleeves were slightly tattered i recall. For his size he was surprisingly majestic. He wafted over to me in the bed without noise and without any real effort of movement – I think he floated, he did’t even walk. I rolled over on my side to face him, but my eyes must have been at his knees or lower. So he bent over and tipped his head to the side so he was literally face to face with me (like maybe 5 cm from me). His face was masked, but not in the oh so traditional depiction of him. Even through the mesh of the mask I could feel his hot breath on my face, like steam creating vapor. His words were hissed in a neutral whisper, “you’re gonna die…” He had already turned back toward his pool of black fog, but before he reached it he had already also dissipated into black fog himself, before all the fog disappeared from the room entirely. Still in my dream; I saw myself bolt out of bed with fright and run to my parents room where I suddenly fell to the floor and saw myself die. My dad was holding my dead body on the floor, and i think it was heart failure or something. Then I actually woke up, sweating, trying to get my breath (since I was having trouble with oxygen due to this ‘asthma’). A month later I collapsed, and couldn’t breath (my dad rushed me to hospital), my resting heart rate was 140/150 for about a week. After a sputum sample and a lot of wasted time, I was finally diagnosed with tuberculosis. So even though seeing the Grim Reaper was a terrifying encounter, he can’t be that bad of a guy if he warned me about my own impending death. Maybe he was being arrogant in letting me know that he was coming for me, but it didn’t come off that way. His tone was pretty neutral, so I think he was doing the gentlemanly thing of warning me. So hey, maybe old Grim isn’t a villain, but really a misunderstood hero? He showed me the future, and in doing so saved my life (because after that I immediately sought another diagnosis for my illness, which proved to be the accurate identifier and proper treatment was thereafter able to commence, which healed me up 100%).

I Faced the Grim Reaper

I Faced the Grim Reaper

Dream 10: The Tree From Eden

During the day I had consulted a professional person’s advice about a moral dilemma I was in (it was nothing serious, just choosing to either lie or tell the truth about something which could affect the prosperity of my future). I wanted to tell the truth about the matter concerned, but the professional said I should lie, because the truth would cause more unnecessary problems for me and he didn’t see the point in it. Great, I was literally in two minds about the whole thing by the time I went to bed that evening. So, I fell asleep. I saw this lovely green well-manicured grass hill in my dream. Atop the hill there stood a lonely tree. So naturally I walked toward the tree… As I reached up into the branches of the tree to feel for an apple, this snake swooped down on me! It was hanging on the branch above me, but half of its body shot forward from the tree – toward me! Its fangs bared, as wide ajar as its jaw could be, it hissed maliciously at me only centimeters from my face. I actually remember throwing my head and neck uncomfortably back to avoid being bitten. Then the rest of my body followed suit and fumbled backward in avoidance. I woke up, kung-foo swatting around my face area – still believing I may be in danger. When I calmed down, I looked the dream up in a dream book. The book said, “someone in waking life is trying to steer you away from your morals…” Not bad hey? Needless to say, I decided to tell the truth when I finally got around to actioning the matter at hand the next day (I stuck to my moral, and I didn’t eat the apple).

Tree of Eden

Tree of Eden

Dream 11: I Know I’m Dreaming But I Don’t Wake Up Immediately 

I think I’ve mentioned lucid dreaming somewhere before in this article. It can be really terrifying, but also incredibly enlightening. In my dream I was walking in my backyard, and I noticed my neighbors house behind us was abandoned and pretty derelict – their bedroom walls inside and out seemed charred with black smoke. So I walked away from the boundary wall, and started toward my swimming pool. My mouth was dry, and the grass under my feet was like needles, sharp and painful. The grass was yellow/brown – a strange dead color for Summer. I scooped the thermometer out from the pool and the temperature on the gauge was 55 degrees Celsius! In the dream I said to myself then, “I must be dreaming”, knowing that if the water was that hot, that the actual temperature around me was far higher and I should have been dead. Strangely though, I just threw the thermometer back in the pool and carried on dreaming. I walked around the house and everything seemed weather-beaten or simply neglected over what must have been decades of time. There were pockets of beach sand around, but I live nowhere near the sea. Then I saw a group of “Mad Max” type people chasing weaker humans around down below my house in this beach sand. Boom! I woke up… A month later South Africa was experiencing one of the most severe droughts to strike the country. We’ve been going through water shortages, and there’s been food shortages in some regions due to crops failing in the drought. On Thursday the 7th of Jan I wet my sleeping shirt, wrung it out, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes and then put it back on before returning to bed – it was the hottest day recorded in Johannesburg and Pretoria history 40-42 degrees Celsius. I had a similar dream where my brother cashed in his shares at his company, and sure enough a week later he told me he had cashed in his company shares. My mom knew I had dreamt it a week earlier so we just looked at each other and smiled.

Post Apocalyptic Pool

Post Apocalyptic Pool

Seeing Things #1

When I was in hospital I saw a silhouetted lady sitting right up next to my bed (I was coming out of the bathroom). When I did a double-take to see who it was, she had vanished. I think it was my aunt (I see her often).

Seeing Things #2

I see the silhouette of a black cat walking around my house. Its always in the periphery and as soon as I try to look on it fully, it disappears. Sneaky phantom cat.

Maybe my brain is just over-active when I sleep. Do people have seizures in their sleep? Of course they do, I’ve read up on this. I’ve also read up on people having spikes in their neural activity whilst asleep.

So, basically I believe that when we are sleeping we are able to activate areas of our brain that are usually dormant – in doing this we are able to experience sensations/dimensions that are above /beneath our threshold of conscious perception. My conclusion is that these dreams may be real-feeling dreams, or real moments disguised as dreams, some I’m sure are warnings of the future. Have you ever experienced real night time dreams? Don’t be shy to share 😎

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Offworld Trading Company

Seeing as though we are going through our 6th mass extinction; the probability of humans seeking resources off-world is very real:

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is a real time strategy game that takes players to Mars:

Your Colony

Your Colony

This off-world adventure is all for profit. Mine your way over the surface of Mars to economic victory:

Life Beyond Earth Begins

Life Beyond Earth Begins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offworld Trading Company is $39.99 on Steam. Let me know what you think?

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