NASA scientists had a reason other than the new year to celebrate Tuesday after receiving confirmation that their New Horizons probe had approached an unknown object in the most far-flung region of our solar system, some four billion miles away from Earth. Confirmation that the craft had reached the so-called “third zone” of the Kuiper Belt came about 10 hours after expected.
New Horizons’ Mission Operations Manager (shortened to “Mom”) Alice Bowman said, “We have a healthy spacecraft, we have just completed the most distant flyby.”
Regarding the unknown object, Mission Controller Alan Stern noted that “it’s 35×50 km [about 22×31 miles], and it’s an irregular shape. It could be bi-lobate, with asymetric lobes, or it could be these are two things in orbit – and tomorrow we will know which is the case.”
Because of the distance, Mission Control is observing what happened six hours earlier. “There’s a lot of anxious people staring at screens in Mission Control,” said Mark Holdridge, the Encounter Mission Manager. An object the size of a grain of rice hitting the craft could destabilize it, as the probe is traveling at 31,500 miles per hour.
For the time being, the only images that have come to Earth of the giant, unknown object, named Ultima Thule, are in black and white. Color photos will only be available in the coming days. “We set a record,” said Stern. “Never before has a spacecraft explored anything so far away. Think of it. We’re a billion miles farther than Pluto.”
Mankind had no knowledge of Ultima Thule whatsoever until 2014, which was eight years after the New Horizons probe was launched. The Hubble Space Telescope picked up on it, so NASA put it next on the probe’s itinerary.
The Kuiper Belt is a frozen expanse beyond the farthest planet from the sun, Neptune. The region where Ultima Thule is located is also known as the Twilight Zone. The mysterious object is believed to be from 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system was formed, so it’s “probably the best time capsule we’ve ever had for understanding the birth of our solar system and the planets in it,” said Stern.
It’s yet unknown what Ultima Thule’s shape is, only that it appears to to be peanut-shaped. It may even be two or more objects.
When a young lady got sick of her career in the world of finance, she decided to do something radical. One day, while browsing online, she stumbled across something that would change her life forever. However, she never imagined it being a bus.
Jessie Lipskin, 30, decided to leave her New York City apartment and build her own home. After buying a Greyhound bus, she spent three tireless years transforming it into something that wasn’t just luxurious, but so much more…
This amazing story began back in 2015 when Jessie Lipskin was interested in packing up everything and downsizing. One day, when she was browsing on eBay, she stumbled across a 1966 GMC Commuter Greyhound bus. “RVs lacked the aesthetic I was going for, so I landed on a vintage bus conversion,” she said. Feeling lucky and opportunistic, Jessie ended up being the winning bidder, buying the bus for just $7,000. Despite being so excited about her radical purchase, she didn’t even have a driver’s license at the time.
No Ordinary Woman
What you’ll learn from this incredible story is that Jessie Lipskin isn’t any ordinary woman. Unlike other people who have given buses extreme makeovers in recent times, Jessie has a profound reason for her life-changing decision. As a vegan, Jessie pursued a more eco-friendly lifestyle and did extensive research on sustainable living. “I was working long hours in finance at the time and I felt like there was something else out there,” she said. Jessie is also a huge bookworm.
Jessie’s first exposure to sustainable living came after watching Garbage Warrior. The documentary focuses on architect Michael Reynolds, who takes recycled materials and builds “Earthships” out of them. “[It] really resonated with me,” Jessie said. “I began to consume everything I could read, more about sustainable lifestyles. Ultimately, a home on wheels seemed like a perfect solution: I could easily explore new places (finding a permanent place to settle, in the short term, was not a priority for me).”
For Jessie, it wasn’t as if she simply decided to live in a bus overnight. It was a gradual transition from her NYC lifestyle to a life of condensing and only holding onto the things that truly matter. “People waste a lot of time focusing on physical items: purchasing them, misplacing them, and subsequently looking for them. Most of these items, from my standpoint, felt superfluous to a meaningful life,” she said. “I relocated seven times, and by the end, just about everything I owned fit in my SUV.”
Having lived in Manhattan for most of her life, Jessie didn’t just want a simpler life, she wanted to see the world. In her mind, if she had a portable home, then she could be at home and visit new places at the same time. Over the past three years, Jessie has moved on seven separate occasions, allowing her to see a little bit more of the world, while also transforming the bus in a variety of different locations.
With compelling reasons behind her decision and an adventurous investment, Jessie was excited upon seeing her 1966 GMC bus for the very first time. Sure, it didn’t look like much. It was simply a bus that had transported millions of people over the years. In fact, it was an identical model to the bus that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock drove in the ’90s blockbuster Speed. However, Jessie had a clear vision of exactly how she wanted the mobile home to look, both inside and out…
With the bus sold to her exactly how it was advertised on eBay, Jessie knew exactly what she was signing up for. She knew that there weren’t any neat features that she could utilize. The bus had been stripped down to its bones, with just a handful of seats remaining. Without haste, Jessie and her team stripped them away too. She wanted a completely empty vessel, which would help her begin its transformation from an old bus into her luxury, eco-friendly home…
Lots Of Work To Do
As time went on, it was becoming clearer and clearer that Jessie had a lot to learn. “The big challenge was that it was very different from working on a home that’s fixed in one location,” she said. “I constantly had to account for movement, on top of that the angles of the bus and slanted style windows made it challenging to design the best possible layout and curved woodworking.” As a result of this, Jessie knew she’d need some help…
A Little Help From My Friends
As she was constantly on the move during the reconstruction of the bus, Jessie was able to meet a number of helpful people along the way. However, it wasn’t easy finding the right people. “I love DIY, however, I don’t have experience with plumbing, electrical, carpentry needed for this project,” she said. Nevertheless, she managed to get help from a number of friends and contractors. Now that she had a support network, Jessie was able to begin the transformation.
Although Jessie got a lot of help from friends and local professionals, there was one group of people who were not so excited about her radical life decision – her family. “My mom thought I was crazy. She would tell all the people in her apartment building, ‘My daughter is buying a bus to live in,'” she said. “People thought it was a big undertaking but they thought if anyone could do it, it would be me.” Nevertheless, she would eventually earn her family’s support.
Everything Needed To Be Perfect
Although she had the right people around her to put everything together, Jessie knew that ultimately, it was her vision. It was on her if the bus conversion didn’t work out. Therefore, she needed to make sure that everything was meticulous. “One of the hardest challenges was building walls and storage and closets in,” she said. “If the angle isn’t exactly the same every time you park [the bus], you might have an issue with opening a door or something like that.”
Once the scaffolding was done and the main framework of the new home was complete, Jessie and her team could move onto basic furnishings. She hired local carpenter Mike Slater, who made the customized woodwork for her place. She was so pleased with his contribution to the bus, she described it as “amazing carpentry” on an Instagram post. By the time that Slater was done, all the closets, boardings, and kitchen countertops were in place and ready to be used.
Honoring The Bus
As you can see, Jessie was respectful enough to make sure that she wasn’t simply ignoring the fact that the home she was creating was once a bus. After keeping the license plate, as well as the plate that contained the details of who it was constructed by, to begin with, Jessie thought it was only fitting to display these plates inside her home. That way, she was honoring what had come before, as well as all the people responsible for giving her this bus.
Transformation – Done!
Fast forward three years and after so much blood, sweat, and tears, Jessie was able to proudly look at her new home. While the young lady spent over $70,000 to complete the conversion, this might sound like a shocking figure. However, when you consider how much a standard apartment in Manhattan costs, it is clear that Jessie actually saved a lot of money in the process. Upon completion, Jessie was excited to finally share her masterpiece with the world…
Let’s Start Outside
While the interior would ultimately determine whether or not the bus transformation was a success or failure, the way that the exterior looked also mattered a lot to Jessie. The shape stayed the same, but Jessie had the bus completely painted over from head to toe. While it was already mainly white with a red, white, and blue stripe pattern running through its center, Jessie thought it would look cleaner if the home received an all-white paint job.
Funnily enough, one of the aspects of the bus conversion that Jessie was not so happy about was how big the interior of the new home felt to her. With the intention of downsizing, in many ways, this portable home felt even bigger than her apartment in Manhattan. “When I walk in, it feels huge,” she said. “It feels even bigger than my New York City apartment.” Consequentially, Jessie made the most of all the space she had…
Feels Like Home
Although Jessie has a complicated relationship with both her family and where she came from, she made a concerted effort to make sure that her new home reflected her personality, as well as her roots. For example, the young lady decorated the home with a number of family heirlooms, such as photos of her ancestors. Also, Jessie regularly uses precious china plates that her great-grandmother once used in her home on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, New York.
Not only does the kitchen look like something out of a high-end brochure, but it also utilizes the environment pretty well too. It is equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a modern apartment, including wooden countertops, an oven, stove, and a large sink. It also has tons of storage. There is even an energy efficient washing machine and a dryer in the kitchen area. Like a number of other parts of the home, the kitchen window boasts stunning views of Jessie’s surroundings.
It wasn’t just the communal areas that were given the luxury feel. Adjacent to the kitchen, the bathroom still had plenty of room to navigate in. “The bathroom has mahogany wood slotted flooring that drains for drying off post-shower,” Jessie said. “The shower drain connects to the floor drain and they both lead to the gray water tank which is mounted under the bus.” But probably the most fascinating aspect of the bus conversion could be found in Jessie’s bedroom…
Room With A View
Not only is the bedroom beautifully designed, but it also has an open window, providing Jessie with beautiful views. “I love not having a TV. I had the option to have a TV, but I really like waking up in the morning and hearing the birds outside my window,” she said. So if Jessie was so adamant that she didn’t want a TV, how exactly was she going to spend her free time in her new home?
Time To Hit The Books
After dedicating three years of her life to this radical transformation, Jessie now has “a little ‘library along the back of the bedroom,” with the long list of books she wants to catch up on. “I feel like I’ve been so busy these past few years that I haven’t read as much as I’d like. I have the time now to do that,” she said. “It’s nice to just cozy up in bed and just read a book.”
Enough Storage Space?
While Jessie has admitted that she could’ve done with some more storage space in the bus home, the limited amount has certainly made her more space efficient. “This is just one portion of the closet, it extends to the left and right a decent amount,” she said. “I’ve always been very organized and tidy and kind of tried to get rid of whatever I don’t need.” Despite these little nitpicks, Jessie has certainly taken more positives from the transformation than negatives.
You can take Jessie out of New York City, but you definitely can’t take New York City out of Jessie. As a New Yorker, through and through, the young lady went out of her way to make sure that there would be room in the bus for potential guests. At the front of it, there is an extra sleeping space, in case any friends or family choose to crash for the weekend. There have been recent developments regarding Jessie’s newly transformed home…
She’s Also Tech Savvy
Make no mistake about it – Jessie wasn’t only interested in creating a beautiful home. She was excited to put her mind to the test and create amenities on the bus that have a bit of technological panache to them. Take the steps at her home entrance for example. When you open the door and press the electric button on the side, steps will open out so that you can enter and exit the bus. Press the button again for them to close.
If you compare how the interior of the bus looked when Jessie bought it a few years ago, compared to what it looks like now, it is completely like night and day. It was once a typical bus interior, which one could imagine hosted thousands upon thousands of schoolkids, amongst its many other passengers. However, those days are long gone, and what is left is the interior of a home that many would be happy calling their own. Jessie sure is.
To Sell Or Not To Sell?
In a sharp turn of events, Jessie ended up putting the bus-turned-home up for sale on Craigslist, for a whopping $149,000. The post is no longer online and as of October 2018, it appears that Jessie is still living in what is still a relatively new home. However, it appears that she will eventually move onto something else and admits that she has taken more from the entire experience than from the actual bus. “I’m giving it up,” she said. “But I’m gaining through the experience of having had it.”
It Is Now On Airbnb
Once again, Jessie’s bus has relocated and is now in the hands of Airbnb. For just over $100 per night, you can enjoy all the amenities that the bus-turned-mobile-home has to offer. However, probably the most amazing part of the experience is that the bus is nestled in the heart of Joshua Tree, a truly idyllic desert landscape. Jessie might not have been able to sell her bus for the right price, but Airbnb is a useful alternative and she has already had many guests.
Sharing Her Story With The World
While Jessie’s remarkable story has already traveled far and wide, capturing the imaginations of many other aspiring home renovators, there is another place where you can see her story from start to finish – her Instagram account. On “the bus tiny home,” you will be able to see the entire process Jessie underwent over the last few years. Scroll to the bottom of the account and you’ll see the early stages of the transformation, all the way up to its end results.