What does NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Stephen Pakbaz do for fun when he’s not working on real-life Mars vehicles? Well, it turns out he builds Mars vehicles in LEGO. Here is a 1:1 scale, motorized model of the Ingenuity Helicopter that spans about four feet (1.2 meters) across. In case you’ve been living under a meteorite this past month this craft has made headlines with a number of historic flights.You can keep up with the latest real-life shenanigans of the helicopter on Mars on Nasa’s official website. As for LEGO-life shenanigans, you may notice that Stephen has also built the Ingenuity a leeetle friend in 1:3 scale. That one he has launched on LEGO Ideas in hopes of gaining the votes needed to maybe make it an official set at some point. This isn’t Stephen’s first orbit with LEGO Ideas. He was successful in turning the Curiosity Rover into an official set back in the early days when LEGO Ideas was called Cuusoo. Check out our interview from 2013.
I had a Venus Flytrap once. I bought it when I had an infestation of fruitflies several years back. Or were they mayflies? I don’t know, I didn’t ask. Either my flytrap was fussy or they’re not that into fruitflies (or mayflies) because it really wasn’t the fly kill-fest I hoped for. But this LEGO Mars Flytrap by Linus Bohman is the stuff of B-Movie nightmares. It’s big enough to eat cars and it doesn’t seem fussy at all. The Mars Flytrap is expertly crafted with plant bits and I just love that horrific gaping maw. Oh, and before you flood the comment section with what’s LEGO and what isn’t, it’s all LEGO. Yep, even the cars! They’re from a series of LEGO HO Scale offerings from the ’50s and ’60s and are now worth a mint. Tasty!
How many glasses of water have you had today? I bet, fewer than you you should! Instead of yet another boring reminder, I’d rather share with you this fantastic water extractor built by BobDeQuatre. Named Poseidon, this machine is much more advanced than your ordinary LEGO rover. According to the description, this thing can melt extraterrestrial ice and lift water up to the surface. I cannot confirm if this is true, but I can totally confirm some great part usage in the rover’s design. The cockpit reminds me about the 31107 Space Rover Explorer set which uses the same combination of pieces; although, the Poseidon is much more massive and impressive. Now, go and get yourself another glass of water..!
Here’s a fun fact: while here, on Earth, we often design our vehicles to merge with the environment, on Mars, the more attention your rover gets, the better. And since the planet is red, even black and white will do. Cole Blaq knows how to make a rover remarkable with an unusual cockpit structure while keeping the rest basic. It has just the right amount of detailing, with neat headlights in the front and very suitable stickers in the back. And why would you need more when your rover has rims like these?
Because I grew up during the time of M:Tron and Blacktron, I tend to think of fantastical fictional ships when I think of LEGO space creations. Of course, this totally neglects all the models built of real world spacecraft. Luckily, LEGO fans like Cyndi Bourne produce amazing space creations like her NASA Mars InSight Lander to remind me that space is a real place. This detailed model was originally commissioned by an employee at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, but it was Cyndi’s idea to add the landscaped base. Her landscaping always impresses me and clearly she can build the surface of any planet! While it might seem simple, as the whole landscape is built from various sizes of dark orange plate, achieving this look requires both patience and creativity. You have to know just where to put each plate, and Cyndi clearly knows.
See Mars the scenic way! Take a ride in Guido Brandis‘ fabulous All-Terrain Mobile Laboratory Rover. Its big fat wheels will stop you sinking into the dust, and its large solar panels should provide more than enough power for your journey plus any little experiments you might want to complete on the way. For a one-colour model, this manages to have remarkable visual impact, and that’s down to the density of the detail applied to every surface. This thing is greeble-tastic, with functional-looking elements applied everywhere — piping, antennae, comms dishes, and paneling. The presentation of the model is also excellent (nice work on the shadows in particular), making the vehicle look properly embedded in its environment. I’d love to hit Valles Marineris in this bad boy–those Martians, they see me rollin’ and they be hatin’.
Fifteen years of unprecedented discovery came to an official end last week when NASA bid a final and touching farewell to its Opportunity rover. The announcement was marked by profound, even personal, loss for those who followed the rover’s journey across the Martian landscape. Outpourings of sorrow for the fallen explorer prevailed as at any funeral. I’ve seen few remembrances, however, as expressive or poignant as one shared in LEGO form by Stefan Schindler.
With her mission over, Opportunity appears to be guided by Curiosity, who alone remains to carry on the mission. Awaiting Opportunity is her departed twin, Spirit, and Sojourner, the first to land and travel on the red planet. There is a subtle, almost heartbreaking glance between Opportunity and Spirit. As if a few more discoveries would have made her inevitable end a little easier. It’s a small but incredibly eloquent scene, both honoring the history of the Mars program while conveying its current hope.
By the time the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars with its splashy “Sky Crane” in 2012, the unassuming Opportunity rover had already been trundling across our neighboring planet’s surface for 8 years. But on February 13, NASA declared its 15-year mission over, having received the last transmission from the rover ahead of a major dust storm on June 10, 2018. To commemorate the end of the mission for what is arguably one of humankind’s greatest achievements, here’s my LEGO Opportunity that I built back in 2012.
I’ve often imagined what it might be like to live on Mars. The Red Planet has been the subject of many science fiction movies and novels, one of the most famous of which would have to be The Martian, a novel by Andy Weir that was also made into a movie. These scenes by
Andreas Lenander do a wonderful job depicting life on Mars in the not too distant future.
I love the simple shape of the ship, especially the curved elements on each side, that look fragile and sleek at the same time. The greebly pipes on top feel very functional, and a bit delicate. The rover and fueling station also stand out against the stark landscape.
The post-production lighting and the overall bleak and desaturated colors set a very somber mood, while the use of simple plates and bricks for the surface don’t draw attention away from the vehicles.
Human imagination can create both incredible and terrifying things. And the latest creation by Japanese builder Moko perfectly illustrates this thesis. This absolutely bizarre creature from Mars is odd in so many ways. Not only does its overall design gives me shivers, but also the choice of pieces and their combinations are simply outlandish. Can you guess what piece is used for the martian’s snout?
If Arsia Prime looks as good in real life as it does in the pictures, sign me up! Just like The Martian, everything about this off-world arboretum is fantastically realistic. The terrain is gorgeous, offering a stunning variety of layering, subtly blended colors, and unique rock formations. Builder Ryan Howerter describes this simply as “a relatively near-future colony on Mars.” With the daily advances of space travel, these words may not be too far from the truth.
Just in time for Ridley Scott’s film The Martian, Ryan Howerter presents his beautiful model of MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission satellite. His model is a commission for the University of Colorado Boulder, for display at the CU Heritage Center. MAVEN recently celebrated its first year in orbit around Mars.
This is the third model he’s built for the University of Colorado; MAVEN joins Voyager 2 and the Apollo 11 Service Module.