Earlier in June, we reported on the ambitious project of NASA and LEGO to send its first LEGO minifigure ambassadors on a one-way trip to the planet Jupiter aboard the Juno Spacecraft. It was a really cool and exciting endeavor to send into the vast space these minifig renditions of the Roman God Jupiter, his wife Juno, and the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei all molded and constructed using ultra high-grade aluminium. You might read the details of our earlier story right here.
Now NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California has confirmed that Juno has successfully started orbiting Jupiter – the largest planet in our solar system. After five years and travelling across 1.8 billion miles of space, the mission control screen at JPL flashed the message, “Welcome to Jupiter!” It was a momentous event as the Juno team cheered and congratulated each other, as CNN reports. Here are some of the tweets shared by NASA.
— NASA (@NASA) July 5, 2016
All rays on me. My solar panels now face the sun. I’m the farthest solar-powered spacecraft from Earth. #Jupiter
— NASA's Juno Mission (@NASAJuno) July 5, 2016
It was really cool to think about those LEGO minifigures silently orbiting Jupiter as of this very moment. Though it is a little bit discouraging to think that these interplanetary LEGO ambassadors will eventually meet their demise once the Juno spacecraft concludes its mission of gathering information about the gas giant, LEGO was kind enough to create a ‘backup’ set of these minifigures which are now under the care of Juno’s Principal Investigator Scott Bolton, using them as a springboard in encouraging children across the US in pursuing a career in space exploration.
We hope that LEGO will eventually come up with exclusive, limited edition replicas of these brave minifig explorers in celebration of Juno’s successful arrival on Jupiter. I love how the lightning bolt piece of the Roman god Jupiter, and Galileo’s globe came out since these are unique pieces on their own. In addition to these impressive parts, the fact that you’re holding in your hands LEGO minifigures that represent three ‘space pioneers’ 1.8 billion miles from our planet is enough to leave anyone with a sense of wonder and awe.