Valve’s Gabe Newell is Launching the Half-Life 2 Gnome Into Space

Fans of the Half-Life series–specifically Half-Life 2: Episode Two–will likely recognize a particularly tricky achievement that involved carrying an infamous gnome across the entirety of the game to launch in a rocket ship at the very end. If you’re someone like me that actually went for the “Little Rocket Man” achievement, you’ll be delighted (or infuriated) to know that Gabe Newell, the president of Valve, happens to be making that achievement a reality in the name of science and charity.

Newell, who has been residing in New Zealand since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, is extending his thanks to the country’s hospitality with a science experiment that also happens to be going towards a good cause. Specifically, Newell is collaborating with Rocket Lab to launch a rocket in mid-November that will deliver 30 new satellites into orbit, with Half-Life‘s Gnome Chompski coming along for the ride. The gnome itself is made by Weta Workshop from titanium and measures about 6 inches tall, and will be joining onboard for the Rocket Lab mission.

According to Rocket Lab, the launch will take place in mid-November (sometime on or around November 15, 2020) and will be streamed live on their official website. Alongside the launch, Newell will be donating $1 for every viewer of both the launch livestream and the VOD (for the first 24 hours after it airs) to benefit New Zealand’s Starship Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, it seems like Gnome Chompski likely won’t make it back from his mission, as Rocket Lab noted that the gnome “will burn up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere during the de-orbiting process.” However, at least he’s making his life mean something by putting it towards a good cause, so stay tuned for more information from Rocket Lab on when their next mission takes flight with the first garden gnome in space.

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