back to article NASA Legonauts set for Jupiter voyage

NASA has rather cheekily taken a leaf out of our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) project manual and is set to launch three miniature astronauts on its Juno mission to Jupiter. Naturally, this being NASA, a common-or-garden Playmonaut simply isn't up to the job, and the agency tapped Lego for $15k worth of aluminium …


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  1. neon1024

    How times have changed?

    Didn't we used to send images of man into space? That whole thing with the Vitruvian Man, won't sending Lego men into space make the aliens thing we've all got Kryten-esque square heads?

    1. Joefish

      There are images of LEGO astronauts on Mars already.

      The DVDs of messages carried down to the surface on the Spirit and Opportunity rover landers had an image of LEGO astronauts 'Biff Starling' and 'Sandy Moondust' printed on them. A couple of minifigs were supposed to go, but in the end just the pictures were used.

      These guys have got a lot further to go. I think we'll probably let the Reg off the Playmobil reconstruction for once..?

  2. Miek

    Why 15K?

    Come on now, surely you can inspire children for less than 15K.

    When will the Reg be suing ?

    1. stucs201

      Mixed feelings on this.

      I'd agree actual plastic lego would have been better and cheaper.

      On the other hand I'd consider 15k to achieve the goal of "inspire children to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics," money well spent if I didn't know the details.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        It would be so cool but.

        Potentially very dangerous if it meets an ignition source.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    What will happen if the resident aliens find it...

    And they read into this:

    1. We found a planet that looks like this (ie yours)

    2. We looked at it through the microscope

    3. Our analysis concludes that it should be targetted for destruction. Goodbye.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Red Dwarf

    Hopefully 'they' would have received and watched the series before they get their mitts on these one-off's?? They know that the Cat and Dave are more resemblance to human kind.. Rimmer on the other hand.........

  5. Blofeld's Cat


    True garden shed boffins would have built part, if not all, of the spacecraft from Meccano.

  6. Wommit


    Those swine Legonauts are going to colonise space before we do.


    1. Wommit

      Just thought of something

      If they really want to colonise space, Shirely they'd take TWO ladies and ONE bloke.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        TWO GODS and ONE bloke

        Actually. That is all.

  7. annodomini2
    Paris Hilton


    Strap Paris to the top of the rocket, I'm sure no-one would complain! ;)

    1. hplasm

      "Ooo. That's hot!"

      "And big...!"

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure it won't be the first time

      That Paris has been strapped to the top of a 'rocket'.

      Mine's the one with the japanese rope cuffs in the pocket.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very amusing!

    Love it, and so should everyone... except maybe the american taxpayer. Cuts everywhere, debt threshold increase, and $15k worth of Lego that serve no purpose and will never be seen by anyone ever again. Yup, party pooper, that's me.

    1. Blofeld's Cat
      Black Helicopters

      Now that you mention it...

      [looks around furtively]

      I don't see any stars in that photograph. I mean we only have THEIR word that they spent $15k on these figures, I suppose we could ask Lego, but THEY are probably in on it as well.

      I mean how many people have actually SEEN these figures? Are they really ON the spacecraft? For all we know there could just be RELAYING the pict...

      +++ NO CARRIER

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    How much?

    $15k for three bespoke figures? Unpainted!!??!!

    There are certain people I know in the models business who'd be fulminating in a righteous outburst of jealous rage at the sight of that.

    I know how this goes:

    "Customer wants three bespoke unpainted figures in ally. 'Ow much?"

    "Complicated stuff?"

    "Nah. Lego style."

    "Oooh, borrow the standard bits from the kids' toybox, knock out the bespoke detail in wax tomorrow afternoon and cast 'em it 800 quid. Who's asking?"


    "Ask for five grand.......whadda they wannem for?"

    "Sending 'em to Jupiter in a spaceship apparently."

    "Ah, make that 15....."

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Tango Charlie Al vs organics

      given the intensity of the radiation belts around Jupiter and approaching solar maximum , I speculate that plastic playmobiles may either

      (a) char, (b) seriously distort, (c) sublimate (d) all of the preceding.. Al may only get slightly radiactive. Al may be the best solution for the playmobiles to make to Jupiter. Mg if one needed strenght but it would cost. more. It would burn much better in a launch failure though.

      Anyone know the volatility of playmobile plastics in a vacuum ?

  10. Baskitcaise

    Juno - kitchen - sammich

    No I would not have said that if Ms Bee was still around.

  11. Fred 21
    Thumb Up

    Cost of the mini-figs

    What the article doesn't mention is that the cost of the aluminium figures is being absorbed by LEGO themselves, so the the American taxpayer doesn't have to fork out the extra money. I'm sure there will be some cost for affixing the figure to the craft but as I understand it this is in addition to the $15k.

    The idea behind all this is to bring younger people into the space industry - you can follow it all here

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would follow it on legospace ...

      .. but I have to pretend that I speak American even before I see the "server is busy" message.

  12. Robin Baker

    Not just me then...

    I thought the thing Juno has in her hand was a frying pan...


    1. Bonzo the Wonder Dog

      RE: Not just me then

      Looked more like "Juno-one for tennis?" to me.

  13. SirDigalot

    who exactly

    thinks up these prices? therecertainly is NOT 15k's worth of aluminium in those figures, and to be fair any modeler/scuplture-rer person would be able to sculpt them, of it is is not as if playmobile do NOT have the moulds to go on... so exactly where does the cost come from? maybe they meant 15,000 pennies... i wish i could get away with putting price tags like that on stuff...

    now where did i put my $500 hammer again......

    1. Steve Knox


      Playmobile doesn't have the moulds. Neither does Playmobil.

      I'm sure Lego might have a few knocking about, though.

  14. Peter Mc Aulay

    Juno's frying pan

    Judging from Greco-Roman mythology, Juno will be using her frying pan for hitting Jupiter about the head with rather than for cooking...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Punch & Juno?

      Thaaats the way to do it...

  15. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Why aluminum?

    It would have been cooler if Lego had released these as regular plastic minifigures, and just given NASA samples of the first batch. I would have loved to give my son these for his collection.

    (we need a playmonaut/legonaut icon).

    1. Bill Fresher

      what's the problem

      why not buy him a set of the aluminium ones.

      i'm sure lego would oblige if you also paid $15k.

    2. Mike Richards

      At a guess

      The plastic used by LEGO might not be capable of withstanding the heat, cold and radiation Juno is going to experience.

      But I'm with you on wanting a set for myself (LEGO is far too good for children)

    3. graeme leggett

      Damn right

      I want to be able to buy myself, err my son - yes my son - a Lego Gods and Heroes minifig set.

      Twelve Olympians and a bunch of famous mortals. But not Oedipus, or Tanatalus, or Clytemnestra (actually most of the House of Atreus...). I don't want to have to explain those legends.

  16. Peter Ford

    That's an awfully big rocket

    to launch a teeny Lego figure!

    I guess they need a lot of life support kit to get it to Jupiter

  17. Anonymous Coward

    And the children go on starving in Solalia...

    The title subject of my post says it all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      get back... your crab bucket.

    2. Neil 51


      With that sort of attitude the human race would have died out ages ago owing to a lack of scientific advancement. Science and exploration is too important dammit.

      I'm assuming this was your last post before you sell your laptop along with all your other non-essential possessions so you can send all your money to Somalia? No? Then stop being a fecking hypocrite.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Solalia? Where's that then Mr.Won't-Someone-Think-Of-The-Children-Smarty-Pants-Luddite?

      Maybe if a few more kiddies took a bit more interest in space & science there'd be less starving brats in Dirtistan, eh?

      1. Ben Holmes
        Thumb Up

        I don't...

        ...have anything constructive to add to this discussion - except for the fact that I love the name 'Dirtistan'.

        Why can't that be a real country?

  18. The Serpent

    Happens on all government orders..

    ..the sellers just start adding zeros to the standard price

    London Metal Exchange currently values aluminium (with an i) at $2529 per tonne, meaning you could buy nearly 6 tonnes of 'Al' raw material for the same outlay

    That's some expensive casting

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Cost 15,000 or worth 15,000?.

      Presumably cost includes concept, design, modelling, risk analysis (bit of a bastard turn if a bit fell off and jammed something important) p+p, licensing, business lunches,

      Did NASA pay for them or did Lego donate/contribute?

      These things could be out there for an enternity - I don't know that ABS lasts that long compared to Al.

      1. The Serpent

        Er, cost of course

        And I particularly liked your last attempt to justify this crap - who is it that you think will be going to pick them up again and complain about how they've lasted??! FFS..

  19. stu 19

    15k for 3 Lego Figures - LMFAO

    No frikking wonder they can't afford to put any more shuttles up!!! f'kin morons.

    1. moonface

      15k for 3 Lego Figures - LMFAO

      Agree and I thought Games Workshop was expensive!

      NASA could have bought a legion of space marines. Show those damn Aliens we mean business.

  20. Gobhicks


    From New Scientist’s Juno story:

    “… no one knows what matter does at the extreme pressures inside such a massive body.

    “These pressures are estimated to be 50 million Earth atmospheres, says Bagenal: "Think of 100 elephants standing on top of each other with the bottom elephant standing on one foot – on a stiletto heel."”

    50*10^6 A = 1 hecto-jumbo-mono-something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      100 elephants

      If they were lego elephants there'd be no problem.

  21. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Jumping the gun .... half cocked

    "Naturally, this being NASA, a common-or-garden Playmonaut simply isn't up to the job, and the agency tapped Lego for $15k worth of aluminium miniatures."

    Excuse me for pissing on everyone's parade, but for all anyone knows, there could be hundreds of aluminium miniatures for that $15k, for that is how Lester has written the piece, is it not?

    And did anyone notice that comments software favours aluminum as opposed to aluminium in its spell-checker ...... and favor to favour too.:-)

    "England and America are two countries separated by a common language." .... George Bernard Shaw Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)?

  22. Stevie


    I looked hard but I couldn't see Galileo's moons.

    1. James O'Shea

      looked hard

      "I looked hard but I couldn't see Galileo's moons."

      You're looking at the wrong aspect.

      And the wrong Legonaut; Juno's moons would be much more interesting.

      Yes, that's my coat there, there lightening-bolt-proof one.

  23. Dan Paul

    Patent granted for use of small toy figures (and TV personalities) as test flight subjects

    From the law offices of Doohey, Rapem and Howe.

    Dear NASA,

    At the behest of our client, The Register; we hereby order you to cease and desist in your plans to use small toy figures in your upcoming flight to Juno.

    Our client has provided our law firm with sufficient prior art and published documentation so as to clearly prove that they were the first to think of this use for toy figures and follow through with actual flight testing.

    On behalf of The Register, we are demanding payment of royalties and penalties in the sum of 15,000 English Pounds (None of those worthless American dollars, please).

    Our client is willing forgo payment in cash if the following two conditions are met:

    a) A permanently funded & irrevoccable pub tab is set up at an establishment of our clients choosing.

    b) Paris Hilton must be strapped, completely naked; to the top of the launch vehicle, attended by all of the Kardashians & Houswives of New Jersey; who are to be garbed similarly to Ms. Hilton and strapped to each of the solid fuel boosters while a full audio/HD video feed of their predicament is streamed worldwide over the internet and to all television stations except those owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    Furthermore, the liquid hydrogen fuel for the launch vehicle must be certified and tested to have come from the rendered fat of the cast of Jersey Shore and the entirety of the US Congress and Senate.

    Oh, yes, can't forget one last requirement, Sarah Bee must return as the Moderatrix of the Register Comments.

    Your immediate reply is required.

    Very truly yours,

    Snively J. Bastard, Barrister

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh yeah

      "Oh, yes, can't forget one last requirement, Sarah Bee must return as the Moderatrix of the Register Comments."

      I'm missing Sarah's gentle reprimands, the softly lilting tones of her put downs and the CRACK! of her whip striking across the buttocks of the latest victim of her ire.


      I miss her.

    2. Rick Brasche

      sorry, NASA has prior art

      LEGO bricks and figs went to Mars already in 2004. :P

      Sorry guv. NASA did it firstest and bestest :)

  24. Martin Budden


    That is all.

  25. JK1440

    Domestic equipment

    If that is a frying pan, Juno's clearly making sure she's equipped in case Jupiter tries to get up to his old tricks with Europa, Io, Callisto etc.

  26. Christopher Blackmore

    Not a frying pan

    Any fule kno that is not a frying pan. They look like this

    Whereas, the magnifying glass looks like this

    Why should I get out more, when I have all this Lego to play with?

  27. Mike Flugennock

    British vs. American aerospace terminology

    So, it seems that what our engineers refer to as an HLV (Heavy-Lift Vehicle) is called over there a BBR -- a Bloody Big Rocket. Much more simple and elegant, I think.

    Atlas is a pretty fair-sized brute for sure, but still, the Saturn V -- now, _there_ was a BBR.

    Also, on the subject of toy spacemen being launched into space -- I recall a Buzz Lightyear puppet being flown aboard a Shuttle mission a while back. Kind of funny watching a video downlink of crew members doing all their serious scientific stuff, and suddenly Buzz Lightyear comes drifting into the shot.

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