LEGO® NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Available January 1st

Hailed by NASA as a “miracle of engineering” when it landed on Mars in August, 2012, we’re thrilled to present a LEGO set based on this historic spacecraft. The fifth LEGO CUUSOO set, 21104 NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, will be available in the LEGO Shop online for $29.99 from January 1st, 2014.

Stephen Pakbaz (“Perijove“), a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the actual Curiosity rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, designed and submitted the rover project to LEGO CUUSOO in late 2011, to further the educational outreach of the Mars Curiosity rover’s mission, and to encourage greater public support for space exploration. His project reached 10,000 supporters within two weeks of the landing in August 2012, and was selected for production by the LEGO Review Board this June.

The Model

This LEGO version of the highly advanced mobile laboratory features lots of great details, such as 6-wheel rocker-bogie suspension, articulated robotic arm and multiple camera sets, plus a display plate complete with LEGO brick Martian rocks – perfect for testing out the rover’s go-anywhere suspension! Similar to other LEGO CUUSOO sets, the building instruction booklet also includes background information about the fan builder, the history of Mars exploration, and the real Curiosity Rover.

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In His Own Words

Stephen Pakbaz recently received his very own Curiosity Rover LEGO sets and would like to share with you this review:

I was extremely excited to receive the official LEGO model of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover in the mail. Opening the box was followed by a lot of high-pitched giggling (I was the only one in the room, so I’m not sure who it could have come from!). For me, the building experience was similar to what I felt when the real Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars. Thanks to everyone at LEGO CUUSOO who made this possible!

The Curiosity rover is one of my favorite and most popular creations. Understandably, I was very interested in what the final model would look like, since the LEGO design process depends on many factors in order to meet their high standards. Ultimately, there is not much of a difference between the official model and my prototype and I can see how the differences add up to significant improvements on my original design. My favorite improvement is the use of the Black Steering Arm, which uses ball joints to connect the rocker-bogie suspension to the swiveling arm on top of the rover body. It makes the rover even more accurate, robust, and easier to put together. It is one of the more rare LEGO elements and if I had known that it existed three years ago, I’m sure I would have used it too.

The instruction booklet was another important part of the set that I was looking forward to. It is a high quality booklet packed with all sorts of images and educational information about the rover, including some of the fascinating history of Mars exploration. My favorite parts are the tidbits added to the margins of the building steps that provide extra information about various components of the rover as you build them.

Above all, the LEGO Curiosity model is not just a display piece. It has a functioning rocker-bogie suspension system and fully articulated robotic arm. It can be used to explore the unknown regions of your house or office. After climbing the outer walls of Carpet Crater and descending into Couch Canyon you will finally be able to determine if your living room was ever capable of supporting microbial life!

– Stephen Pakbaz

The Curiosity Mars Rover was developed by scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is a NASA facility managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://mars.nasa.gov/msl.

U.S. Design Patent D673,482.

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