Artemis Minifigure Mission Delayed
On August 29, 2022, NASA planned the historic launch of Artemis I. This represents the first mission leading to mankind’s return to the moon and eventual journey to Mars. Sadly, the launch was a no-go. While no human astronauts will board Artemis I, the ship’s cargo includes four LEGO® Minifigures. Astronauts Kate and Kyle from the LEGO® Education Build to Launch initiative were joined by City-theme counterparts, Julia and Sebastian, rounding out the four Minifigure crew. True North Bricks planned Space Week around the momentous event. With the Artemis Minifigure Mission delayed, we decided to go ahead with the themed week anyway. Afterall, if all goes to plan, the Minifigures will launch this Friday, September 2 instead.
So, what is the Artemis I mission? Essentially, it is the test flight of NASA’s new SLS (Space Launch System). This feat of rocketry launches astronauts and payloads into deep space, or the region of space beyond our moon. Of course, before we can consider deep space, we need to return to the moon and establish a base there. No human has set foot on the moon since 1972. This base will serve as pitstop between us and eventual connecting flights to Mars. Additionally, Artemis I tests out the Orion Space Capsule. This is the portion of the spaceship that actually carries humans to the moon, similar to the Apollo command modules from years past.
Look familiar? The SLS system inspired one of the 2022 LEGO® City sets.
The mission is meant to spend around 40 days in space. The SLS will launch the Orion capsule out of Earth’s orbit. From there, Orion will orbit the moon and return to Earth. If all goes well, NASA will begin planning Artemis II, a crewed mission following more or less the same route. Astronauts will not set foot on the moon until Artemis III. The August 29 launch was scrubbed just minutes before launch time due to an issue cooling one of the engines. Thousands of people were already poised to watch the historic launch.
Apart from Minifigures onboard (which is a huge deal already), what else does Artemis I have to do with the LEGO® Group? Firstly, the Artemis Missions inspired all of the 2022 space sets in the City theme. We’ll take a look at some of those over the next few days during Space Week. Most notably, the SMS rocket forms the brunt of the Rocket Launch Center (60351) set. You’ll also notice the orange astronaut suits in the image above. These Minifigure designs feature prominently in the aforementioned sets.
Build to Launch offers free STEAM educational resources relating to Artemis.
Additionally, LEGO® Education produced a STEAM exploration series for teachers and parents to run with kids. Called Build to Launch, the program allows students to explore STEAM concepts through a series of videos and lessons designed by LEGO® Education and NASA. The resources are completely free and include lesson plans, videos, teacher guides, and other resources. The program uses the LEGO® Spike prime set, but is adaptable to other LEGO® products (robotic or not), as well as for classes with no LEGO® bricks at all. Two of the Minifigure astronauts onboard the Orion capsule hail from this series. The entire program takes 10 weeks to complete.
We’ve got a bunch of great LEGO® space content for you this week, including some of the new City set reviews, some fun LEGO®-in-space facts, and an exclusive interview about one of the LEGO® Group’s more adult-oriented, space-themed sets. Be sure to check back over the next few days as Space Week progresses. Additionally, let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a hitch free launch of the mission on Friday! Let’s hope the Artemis Minifigure Mission isn’t delayed again.
Until next time,
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