NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, LADEE, was launched on Sept. 7, 2013 and could soon be immortalized as a LEGO set. Following in the footsteps of the popular Curiosity rover, a new LEGO CUUSOO campaign was created for LADEE which has the chance to become an official product.
LADEE is currently orbiting the moon to learn more about how dust travels on Earth’s natural satellite as well as gain new insights on the thin lunar atmosphere. The lunar probe has completed more than 1,000 orbits around the moon and has even observed the landing of China’s lunar rover, Chang’e 3.
The LADEE probe was submitted as a LEGO CUUSOO project and features the spacecraft as well as the scientific instruments, including the Neutral Mass Spectrometer, UV-Vis Spectrometer, Lunar Dust Experiment and the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration, and its thrusters. The project was developed by CUUSOO member arasca, a research assistant at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, located in Colorado.
LEGO CUUSOO is a fan community that lets users set up projects. These concepts get shared to the community and if the project gains enough supporters, 10,000, it will be included as part of a quarterly review. If it passes the review it will become an official LEGO product and the creator will receive a one percent royalty of the total net sales.
If LADEE gains enough supporters, currently at 307, it could join two other spacecraft that have become LEGO sets. NASA’s Curiosity rover became a LEGO set in 2013 while the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa spacecraft became a LEGO set in 2012. Other popular space-related LEGO CUUSOO projects include a Space Shuttle Crawler Transporter, which has 2,250 supporters, and a model of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has 1,712 supporters.