Three Lego Figures are About to Enter Jupiter's Orbit

By Tom Pritchard on at

We know that NASA's Juno spacecraft is going to attempt to enter Jupiter's orbit at about 3:18 tomorrow morning, but did you know it's carrying a fairly special cargo? Aside from all the scientific equipment, the probe is also home to three very special Lego minifigures: Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei - the man who discovered four of the planet's moons back in 1610.

The figures are there thanks to a partnership between NASA and The Lego Group, designed to inspire children to explore science, technology, engineering, and maths. The three figures were made of aluminium and then put onboard the craft ready to be blasted off into space.

As you can imagine the three figures weren't chosen at random, and Lego explained their significance:

"Juno holds a magnifying glass to signify her search for the truth, while her husband holds a lightning bolt. The third LEGO crew member is Galileo Galilei, who made several important discoveries about Jupiter. He used a telescope to confirm the phases of Venus and discovered the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour). Of course, the minifigure Galileo has his telescope with him on the journey."

Lego actually announced this news back in 2011, but since the internet has dulled our attention spans (and the fact Juno is just hours away from Jupiter's orbit) it's a nice reminder that there are three special minifigures going where no minifigure has ever gone before.

Unfortunately they won't be coming home, since Juno is set to crash into Jupiter after orbiting it for a year.  [Nerdist via]