Give your loved one “the world” this Valentine’s Day with a gift developed by NASA.

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Give your loved one “the world” this Valentine’s Day with a gift developed by NASA


This Valentine’s Day, most people will revert to the familiar tactic of buying chocolates, flowers or jewellery, but for those looking for something less mainstream, a gift now exists that allows you to literally give your loved one the world.

Pioneered by NASA, an Ecosphere is a self-contained ecosystem within hand-blown glass; essentially a mini world that you can hold in your hands and display in your home or office – perfect for someone wanting to make a big gesture on an earthly budget.

Originally developed by scientists and NASA as they studied how animal and plant life could be used to sustain humans in space exploration, by comparing open, balanced ecological systems with closed ecosystems, these intriguing little objects, up to 19 centimetres in height depending on the shape you choose, contain small marine shrimp, filtered sea water, algae, micro-organisms, artificial gorgonian (plant) and gravel.

While this might sound like the complete antithesis of a romantic gift, Ecospheres are actually very beautiful, calming to look at and popular with interior designers. And because they’re completely sealed, they do not require anything else apart from a source of indirect natural or artificial light to survive. The gorgonian, gravel and glass provide the ecosystem with everything the micro-organisms need to flourish, feed and sustain the life cycle that allows the Ecosphere to function.

This means that, unlike flowers, which may look their best for around a week after you’ve purchased them, Ecospheres have an average life expectancy of two to three years, although it isn’t uncommon for them to survive for over double this length of time. What, then, could be a better gift to show the enduring love for your partner?

Tammy Edwards, Operations Director for Ecosphere, said: “Just as everyone’s relationship is unique and special, so too is every Ecosphere. Because we hand cut the gorgonian branch for each individual one and offer a range of shapes and accessories – as well as the option to engrave the sphere – no two Ecospheres are ever the same, making them fantastic, personalised gifts for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.”

For more information about Ecospheres please visit:

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