NASA’s Curiosity will be transformed into a new LEGO set. The rover will be exploring more Earthly terrain while the real Curiosity continues to explore Mars.
LEGO CUUSOO allows fans to create their own LEGO set, submit them online and have their peer's review the projects. If the project gets 10,000 supporters, the team at LEGO will review the product for the chance to become an official product. Any fan that creates a LEGO product that gets chosen will receive a one percent royalty for each set sold.
The Curiosity rover set, designed by Perijove, was among three finalists up for consideration by the LEGO Review Board. The other two finalists were inspired by Portal 2, the popular video game series, and Star Wars. The Star Wars-inspired UCS Sandcrawler wasn't approved by the LEGO Review Board, due to LEGO’s ongoing relationship with Lucasfilm, although the Thinking With Portals! set may still have a chance of becoming an official LEGO product.
The LEGO Curiosity set was designed by Perijove, real name Stephen Pakbaz, a mechanical engineer who actually worked on the real rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to the LEGO CUUSOO blog. Much like the real Curiosity, which has inspired and reignited the imagination and allure of space exploration, Perijove hoped a LEGO Curiosity set would do the same on Earth.
LEGO has secured the rights from NASA to create a Curiosity set, and the review board noted its reasonable price expectations as well as the rover’s popularity in the education and space fields. “The product aligns well with the LEGO Group’s mission to ‘inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,’ including those who will build our future in outer space,” LEGO’s said in a statement.
While pricing and availability has yet to be determined, Pakbaz has provided step-by-step instructions, via PDF or LEGO Digital Designer model, so Curiosity enthusiasts can create their own Mars rover. Pakbaz created the LEGO Curiosity to replicate some of the same features as the Mars Science Laboratory. Pakbaz describes Curiosity’s suspension system using an “offset differential mechanism” that allows for rugged play.
Pakbaz also designed two possible accessories that could be included in an expanded LEGO Curiosity set. A Descent Stage and a Sky Crane Stand are also available for enthusiasts to recreate Curiosity’s successful Mars landing.