Three Lego minifigures will be hitching a ride on NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is set to leave the planet to Jupiter this Friday.
A couple of scientists from NASA working on the Juno space mission thought that it would be fun to put some Lego minifigs on the satellite before its launch. Lego, meanwhile, liked the idea and spent around $15,000 carving 1.5 inch tall minifigs, which are made from solid blocks of aluminum, to make sure they don’t cause an accidental crash to Jupiter.
NASA and Lego’s secret plan was only revealed today, two days before the mission.
The Juno spacecraft is expected to launch on Friday on a five-year mission to the solar system’s largest planet. Scientists aim to do a thorough analysis of the planet’s composition and hope to get answers on how the Earth and the other planets came to be.
The three minifig models are the same size as the normal Lego models you have at home. The first model is the Roman god Jupiter, a bearded man that holds a lightning bolt, while the second one is Jupiter’s sister and wife, Juno, holding a large magnifying glass. The third minifig is Galileo Galilei, the father of astronomy, who holds a telescope in one hand and a model of the planet Jupiter in the other.
The Juno spacecraft is set to arrive in Jupiter in 2016, where it will orbit the gas giant for a year. Before radiation destroys the probe, it will have its final dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere.