The bizarre Bigelow Expandable Activity Module will be docking with the International Space Station later this year, after the commercial space outfit won approval to test its cheap extension room for astronauts.
The maker of the $17.8m (£11.2m) pod is looking at ways the low-cost system could be used in future space tourism, with the idea being that a duvet and tea and coffee making facilities could one day be installed to create the ultimate low-orbit B&B. Until then, NASA will test its space-worthiness and radiation-proofing to ensure it's safe for long-term habitation.
The privateer space world will get the BEAM up there, too, with SpaceX's Dragon launcher set to deliver it to the ISS some time in 2015. The ultimate dream is for the maker of BEAM to launch its own private space station, for the super-rich to float around in while having sex with each other and laughing at us lot stuck down here on the decaying planet. [Space via Cnet]