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How To Build a Mini Mars Curiosity Rover With Lego

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Last summer, visitors to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's annual open house got to see the Mars Curiosity rover in its assembly stage. A few months later, a mechanical engineer at JPL who worked on the Curiosity project posted that he'd made a miniature version, out of Lego. Now he's made instructions available so anyone can do it, too.

The timing is pretty sweet, too; not only is Curiosity making headlines, but Lego celebrated their 80th birthday last week.

JPL's Stephen Pakbaz explains his project:

I combined [my] first-hand experience with my LEGO hobby to create a LEGO model that was as faithful to the actual rover as possible in terms of accuracy, details, and mechanical function, while remaining at a reasonable size and cost. The primary purpose of this effort has been to contribute to the educational outreach for this incredible mission. It is my hope that this model encourages the public support that is integral to the continued development and exploration of outer space.
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The real Curiosity touched down on Mars last week, and has already begun firing off panoramic photos of the Red Planet that are being sent down to Earth.

If you are up for tackling the 313-piece Lego model, we wish you godspeed. Unfortunately, the instructions don't include getting the scaled down apparatus into space.