Self perseverance with creativity: Using the WATSON camera on its robotic arm, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover snapped a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter — seen here 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover — on April 6, 2021. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. download image ›
A new STEM-themed kit developed in collaboration with NASA-JPL is designed to spark children’s interest in engineering and space through traditional games and augmented reality.
While the NASA probe and Versatility helicopter Busy exploring Mars, one-on-one scale buildable models have begun touching homes around the world.
Developed in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the new LEGO Technic building set is based on the real rover, and helicopter, which has been cruising through Mars’ Jezero Crater since it touched down there in February 2021. In its search for signs of ancient microbial life, it Perseverance is collecting samples of Martian rocks and soil for possible return to Earth through a future campaign. Ingenuity became the first aircraft to perform powered and controlled flight on another planet, and has since gone on to complete more than 50 additional flights.
To create the building set, the LEGO designers met with the engineers at JPL to learn more about the engineering designs for the spacecraft. The group is just one example of how JPL’s Technology Partners Program is working with industry, in collaboration with the Office of Technology Transfer and Institutional Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA. The latest in a History of the NASA-LEGO CollaborationThe collection allows developers to explore key features of Perseverance such as the navigation system and science tools, view data returned by the rover, and complete interactive challenges.
By collaborating with these technology transfer offices and programs, companies can form strategic alliances with JPL to either license intellectual property, as was the case with LEGO, or to gain access to JPL engineers and scientists to solve a range of technology problems. These collaborative efforts provide a streamlined way for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, one of 10 NASA centers located around the country, to do business with the private sector. The end result is that the technologies developed for the space program can benefit people on Earth and — in this particular case — help educate and excite the public about the space program.
“Our missions to Mars began decades ago with a very big idea, many thought impossible. Today we have successfully landed rovers and even a helicopter on the surface of Mars to explore the climate, geology and possibility of life on the Red Planet,” said Lori Lechien, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. At JPL, we dream big and push boundaries as we strive to answer incredible scientific questions. My hope is that these types of games will spark the same spirit of exploration within kids that we have here at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”
“We love sharing the work Perseverance and Creativity is doing on Mars, and collaborations like this are another way to make space exploration more fun and easier,” said Scott Holm, a Mars public engagement specialist at JPL who helped the LEGO team improve the set for the next generation of Mars. explorers”.
JPL built and managed the operations of the Perseverance rover A versatility helicopter.
For more information about JPL’s Technology Transfer Office, go to:
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Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Written by Jane Platt
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