Since 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Rover has been marking up the Martian landscape and burrowing about like a six-wheeled prairie dog. Earth-bound mortals envious of Curiosity’s extra-terrestrial exploits can now experience their own backyard adventures thanks to Lego’s new Curiosity Rover kit.
Compared to NASA’s real Rover, with its 2,000 lb.ft (2,712 Nm) of nuclear torque, ten foot (3 m) stance, multi-scientific gathering capabilities and price tag of US$2.5 billion, Lego’s pared down Curiosity Rover is a bargain at just $29.95. The Lego version looks to stay as true as possible to the original with a "rocker-bogie" suspension arrangement for the Rover’s six wheels to maneuver carpet-bound obstacles, while an articulated arm and various antennae are recreated in scaled down form, sans laser and drilling components.
Lego’s 295 piece Curiosity Rover was the brainchild of engineer Stephen Pakbaz, who actually worked on the real Curiosity program, and saw his concept become a reality through Lego’s CUUSOO social platform. The platform allows fans of the product to submit their ideas and concepts to the community. Should the project receive support from 10,000 members then Lego moves it up the chain for review by its in-house team. Projects that make it past this phase are then selected as viable and moved to the production phase. Not only does the creator acquire Lego bragging rights, but one percent of total net sales are returned as royalties.
Lego’s NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover is available online now through its website.