LEGO is launching a new series of NASA Artemis Program-themed construction toys just in time to coincide with the first mission.
The toy company recently unveiled the first two of its NASA-inspired LEGO City Space sets with clues about more to come. The release of the new rocket launch center and lunar research base is scheduled for March 1, 2022.
After several delays, NASA is now looking to launch its Artemis I lunar mission in March or April.
“LEGO City Space toy sets come with feature-rich models inspired by real NASA machines, vehicles and spaceships, as well as inspiring astronaut characters for imaginative, open-ended play based on real space missions.” , wrote LEGO on its website.
The LEGO City Rocket Launch Center features a movable launch tower and a rocket that resembles the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy transport thruster making its maiden flight on Artemis I. The LEGO rocket, which sports the ‘dumpling’ logos NASA’s ‘meat’ and ‘worm’ like the real vehicle, measures over 16.5 inches high and 4 inches wide (42 by 11cm).
The set also includes an observation dome and launch control center, as well as a service vehicle and drone. The LEGO minifigures that come with the Rocket Launch Center set include scientists, technicians and two astronauts similar to the four minifigures flying for LEGO Education on the real Artemis I Orion spaceship.
The 1,010-piece Rocket Launch Center (set # 60351) will retail for $ 149.99.
The LEGO City Lunar Research Base is “inspired by the concept of NASA’s Artemis Base Camp,” according to the LEGO Art Box. The set includes the 786 plastic bricks to build a lunar lander, a dome-shaped accommodation module with laboratories, garage, airlock, and six astronaut minifigures.
The lunar lander vaguely resembles SpaceX’s Starship Human Landing System (HLS), which NASA selected to deliver the first astronauts to the lunar south pole.
The set also includes the parts to build a VIPER rover, based on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, which is the agency’s first lunar mobile robot. The real VIPER is slated for delivery to the moon in late 2023 by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.
The Lunar Research Base (Set # 60350), which when built will measure 5 inches high, 15.5 inches wide, and 10 inches deep (13 x 40 x 25 cm), costs $ 119.99.
The illustration of the research base box also indicates another upcoming set, a lunar rover. The yet to be announced set (# 60348) is shown capable of connecting directly to the base to facilitate the transfer of astronauts (minifigures) back and forth.
“Combine this set with others from the LEGO City Space toy line for nonstop space fun,” LEGO promotes on its website.
At least one other set in the series has been teased in a German toy catalog, the Lunar Space Station (60349), which appears to be based on NASA’s Gateway, a buildable human outpost in lunar orbit.
LEGO City Space toy sets continue a partnership between NASA and LEGO that promotes the space agency’s exploration programs while encouraging an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Previous LEGO sets have celebrated NASA’s Apollo lunar missions, space shuttle and space station programs, and future plans to land astronauts on Mars.