Maybe fewer people would complain about the end of the space program if more NASA folks went on to design delightfully compact camping trailers, but former contractor Garrett Finney has that market pretty much cornered. You don't get much more compact than the Firefly, which weighs only 600 pounds and fits snugly into the back of a pickup. Firefly was initially designed with eco-conscious campers and off-roaders in mind, but Finney has hopes for eventual industrial or disaster relief applications.
At NASA, Finney spent his time in the habitation department, developing exploratory vehicles and living spaces for astronauts, and while you're exponentially more likely to see a Firefly at Burning Man than the red planet, the camper is clearly the result of chops busted in pursuit of the kind of dependability and compactness necessary for space travel. Its interior is pretty utilitarian, with two folding bench tops and little else, but we won't truly get a picture of what the thing is capable of until intrepid outdoorspeople start tricking them out. If human beings are good at anything, it's making tiny spaces work.
· An Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look at the FireFly, an Ultra-Compact Camping Trailer Inspired by Space Travel [Core77]