It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, that green thing you may see outside your plane window is a miniature of Steven Colbert's head. MakerBot Industries, the manufacturer of the first affordable 3-D printer, sent a model of Colbert into space -- or at least up to 100,000 feet.
Recently on the Colbert Report with a tiny 3-D thermoplastic model of Colbert, MakerBot founder Bre Pettis and Colbert challenged Thingiverse users (MakerBot's online community) to mashup Colbert's head with other objects. Cobert's head appeared on a T-Rex, wearing Princess Beatrice's recent wedding hat, and as Gumby, among others. But MakerBot didn't stop there.
This month they founded the MakerBot Space Program, which they inaugurated by sending Colbert's model head into the sky on a weather balloon outfitted with a with a Flipcam and a GPS enabled cell phone.
Watch his journey (Steven Colbert was not injured in this launch):
According to MakerBot's website, the 3-D printers are like factories that sit on your desk: "Best of all, this is completely automated: you hit print, and the machine does all the work. Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem."
A MakerBot printer can run between $1,299 up to $2,500, with a range of accessories available.