Lego is launching a new series of building toys themed around NASA's Artemis program just in time to coincide with the first mission.
The toy company recently revealed the first two of its NASA-inspired Lego City Space sets (opens in new tab) with hints of more to come. The new Rocket Launch Center and Lunar Research Base are scheduled for release on March 1, 2022.
After several delays, NASA is now looking to launch its Artemis 1 moon mission in March or April.
"Lego City Space toy playsets come with feature-rich models inspired by real NASA machines, vehicles and spacecraft, plus inspiring astronaut characters for imaginative, open-ended play based on real-life space missions," Lego wrote on its website.
The Lego City Rocket Launch Center includes a mobile launch tower and rocket that resembles the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift booster making its first flight on Artemis 1. The Lego rocket, which features NASA "meatball" and "worm" logos just like the real vehicle (opens in new tab), stands more than 16.5 inches tall and 4 inches wide (42 by 11 cm).
The set also includes an observation dome and launch control center, plus 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 (opens in new tab) on the real Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft.
The 1,010-piece Rocket Launch Center (opens in new tab) (set no. 60351) will sell for $149.99.
The Lego City Lunar Research Base is "inspired by NASA's Artemis base camp concept," according to Lego's box art. The set includes the 786 plastic bricks to build a lunar lander, a domed accommodation module with laboratories, a garage, airlock and six astronaut minifigures.
The lunar lander loosely 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 scheduled to be delivered 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 (opens in new tab) (set no. 60350), which when built will measure 5 inches tall, 15.5 inches wide and 10 inches deep (13 by 40 by 25 cm), lists for $119.99.
The box art for the research base also points to another set coming soon, a moon rover. The yet-to-be-announced set (no. 60348) is shown being able to connect directly to the base to ease the transfer of astronauts (minifigures) back and forth.
"Combine this set with others from the Lego City Space toy range 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 human-tended outpost to be built in lunar orbit.
The Lego City Space toy playsets continue a partnership between NASA and Lego that promotes the space agency's exploration programs while encouraging an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Previous Lego sets have celebrated NASA's Apollo moon missions, space shuttle and space station programs and future plans to land astronauts on Mars (opens in new tab).
Check out Space.com's best Lego space deals guide for more space building options.
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