Outer Space

Why Are There LEGO Figurines Orbiting Jupiter?

When it arrived in Jupiter's orbit in July of 2016, the Juno spacecraft had just finished a five-year, $1.1 billion journey across the solar system. Though it was technically unmanned, it did have a tiny crew: three LEGO figurines joined Juno on its trek. Designed to inspire children of Earth about science and technology, the toys depict Jupiter, the Roman god of thunder; Jupiter's wife Juno, who holds a magnifying glass to signify her mythical peek through the clouds; and Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer who made the first detailed observations of Jupiter and is considered by many to be the father of modern science. Of course, plastic toys would never survive the extreme temperatures and harsh radiation of the journey, so LEGO crafted the figures out of spacecraft-grade aluminum, which does double duty of helping the toys withstand the elements and giving them an other-worldly appearance. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. NASA's Juno spacecraft contained three Lego figurines, which, after the five year journey to Jupiter, broke the record for fastest traveling Legos. 00:11

  2. The Legos depict Galileo, the Roman god Jupiter, and Jupiter's wife Juno. 00:19

  3. The Legos were produced from a single piece of spacecraft-grade aluminum to ensure they could withstand the extreme heat of the journey. 00:33

Written by Curiosity Staff July 19, 2016

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