The unmanned Cassini-Huygens spacecraft has been in the headlines recently as she sends back “swan song” images of Saturn’s rings after a mission lasting over 19 years. Strictly speaking, only the Cassini orbiter portion continues to travel, as the Huygens lander successfully landed on Saturn’s moon Titan back in 2005. Chilean builder Luis Peña has built a LEGO version of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, seen here superimposed over an actual Cassini image. This is a pre-2005 version of the craft with the orange Huygens lander clearly visible, and I love the technique used to build the low gain antenna at the font.
A look at the other side of Luis’ LEGO version shows considerable attention to detail – this is very much a 3d model of Cassini-Huygens. The two 445 Newton engines are depicted using ice cream cone parts, while a pair of Technic gears depict the three radioisotope thermoelectric generators.
Due to a dwindling fuel supply, the spacecraft has entered the Grand Finale phase of its mission before a kamikaze pass through he gap between Saturn and its inner ring, before its intentional self destruction within Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, 2017.
Volker Brodkorb uses some of the finest techniques for a proper presentation of a new LEGO creation. Not only did he publish some eye-catching pictures of the spacecraft, but also called it a prototype and furnished illustrations with a pretty captivating background story about the COSMO Engineering Corporation and their latest spacecraft. Now I’m simply irritated I can’t read more about COSMO and see more of their vessels! But at least we have this beautiful HyperStar runner featuring some fairly simple, yet so smooth curves.
There is a certain type of LEGO builder who never runs out of ideas and concepts. Adrian Florea is one of them. When you’ve seen hundreds, thousands of brick-built starships and nothing excites you anymore, you visit Adrian’s photostream and — surprise! — here’s a new one, even more bizarre and alien than any other. And the longer you stare at the picture, the less sure you are about how this pretty ugly thing grabbed all of your attention. The only thing that bothers me right now — where can I sign up for a ride?
Today, shortly after 1600 GMT, a historic event took place. The European Space Agency successfully landed a spacecraft on a comet. “We are there. We are sitting on the surface. Philae is talking to us, we are on the comet”, celebrated Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager. Víctor Martínez Nouvilas also celebrated the event by recreating the historic moment of touchdown. There were moments of uncertainty as it was not apparent if Philae’s harpoons had managed to anchor the spacecraft in place, but it appears that all is well. This marks an important milestone in the mission as the spacecraft was launched over a decade ago. Quite an exciting day! It will be fascinating to find out what kind of information Philae will send back to us as it explores it’s new home.