When NASA's Juno probe leaves Earth this Friday for Jupiter, there will be three very special aluminum friends hopping a ride. This just in: NASA is sending a probe to Jupiter this Friday. Which proves that just because the shuttle is grounded for a few years, it's no reason to stop exploring our cosmic neighborhood. (Via space.com & GeekDad)
The three LEGO figurines represent the Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and everyone's favorite heliocentric scientist, Galileo, who discovered Jupiter's four largest moons.Each piece is the same size as a regular plastic LEGO figurine but they're milled from special space-grade aluminum (that exists) at a cost to LEGO of $5,000 each. They will all be riding to Jupiter attached safely to the spacecraft underneath a thermal blanket.
Close Ups of the Figurines
Jupiter, Roman god of sky and thunderJupiter, like the planet named for him, shrouded himself in clouds that hid his activity. His LEGO figurine carries a lightning bolt as a representation of his powers.
Juno, Jupiter's wifeJuno was the only one who could peer into Jupiter's clouds of mystery. And, just like the goddess she's named after, Juno the space probe will peer through Jupiter's dense atmosphere to reveal the planet's structure and history.She carries a magnifying glass, representing her search for truth.
Galileo Galilei, the father of modern scienceGalileo made several notable discoveries, both with and without his companion telescope. But the one he is honored with in NASA's Juno probe is the discovery of the four so-called Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which is why he also carries a model of Jupiter with him.
Galileo will also have an additional honor - this 2-inch tall space-grade aluminum plaque provided by the Italian Space Agency. It contains his likeness, his signature and an excerpt from his notes that document his discovery of the first three moons.