Tesla’s eccentric billionaire CEO Elon Musk made headlines in 2018 when he launched his own personal Roadster into space alongside SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Now, Valve CEO Gabe Newell is taking a page out of Musk’s book: he will be launching a garden gnome into space later this month.
While both CEOs had a similar idea, the method to their madness is entirely different. Musk launched his Roadster into space mostly for publicity and because, well, he could — Newell, on the other hand, is doing it for charity.
He’s teamed up with the folks over at Rocket Lab to help Half-Life icon “Gnome Chompski” achieve its dreams of becoming an astronaut. For every person who tunes into Rocket Lab’s official launch livestream, Newell will donate $1 to the “Starship” Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.
Since just about everything Newell does tends to make headlines, his donation will likely wind up being quite generous in the end. For our part, we’re more than happy to spread the word about a good cause.
If you’re wondering why Newell would be donating to a random hospital overseas, here’s a bit of background: he’s been living in Auckland for the better part of 2020 as a self-proclaimed Covid-19 “refugee.” The CEO has been impressed by the country’s handling of the virus and has made his appreciation for its safe harbor known on multiple occasions.
He’s already announced plans to host a free concert for New Zealand citizens as a thank-you, so this space-themed donation event is Newell’s second, more direct attempt to express his gratitude.
Newell’s love of New Zealand doesn’t stop there, though. As we’ve reported in the past, he’s planning to sit down with the country’s prime minister to discuss temporarily relocating game developers to the country so they can work more efficiently amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.