Get ready to step into interplanetary exploration with this mech-themed Black Friday deal.
The Lego Creator 3-in-1 Space Mining Mech is on sale at Amazon right now for $19.99. That's a 20% savings that will inspire your kids to think about subjects in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at an affordable price point.
While adults may think that mechs are a part of science fiction franchises such as "Transformers" and "Pacific Rim," and that space mining is only part of the "Dune" franchise that saw a new movie released weeks ago, there are government groups trying to turn the concept into a reality.
In recent years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NASA have been among the entities looking at using robotics to make space exploration, asteroid mining and military activities safer for explorers, and the benefits may flow to helping folks with mobility disabilities.
Now that NASA is hoping to land humans on the moon in 2025, it may not be too long before we see robotic exoskeletons working for real on another world. Already NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on next-generation robots that can cling to steep rock faces, representing a cool advancement even over the life-hunting Perseverance robot on Mars that works on much flatter terrain.
The Lego set includes 327 pieces and is rated for builders age 7 and up. Some kids may need some extra adult assistance, but there are other resources to help entire families including a pictorial-based Lego instruction set, and some extra assistance from the Lego Life app (available on most mobile devices.)
The effort will be worth it, as you'll be left with a posable Space Mining Mech ready to dare mighty things on another world. Like any good tool master, the Mech comes with a large set of items: a buzz saw, a jetpack and crystals. A green alien figure will act as a sidekick for space adventures.
Because you can never guarantee who you'll run into during a space adventure, the Mech includes poses and items that will help in space mining and in space battles. You'll also receive a four-legged cargo carrier and the face of the mech can change expressions depending on what situation they encounter.
Users report that the mech is very durable for play, and there's a hidden bonus: if you don't mind a slight mod to the mech's head, you can squeeze a minifigure in there with a bit of creativity. (We might suggest using a minifigure from a "Star Wars" set.)
As human space exploration reaches for the moon, this mech is a future-looking interpretation of what future astronauts might do. Be sure to grab it quickly before materials run out.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace