This is a model of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, named Curiosity. The real rover is currently on Mars with a mission to investigate the past and current habitability of the Red Planet. On August 5, 2012, it touched down at Gale Crater, near the equator. This model has a fully articulated arm, deployable mast, and a working rocker-bogie suspension system that allows the rover to climb over large rocks and keep all six of its wheels on the ground.
A LEGO Digital Designer model
(right-click "Save As") and step-by-step .pdf instructions
of the Curiosity rover are now freely available to enthusiasts and educators who want to build a rover with their own pieces. All of this, along with more information about the pieces you'll need, including part numbers, can also be found on Rebrickable
. I'd love to hear from anyone who builds or uses the model. Pictures would be awesome too!
As thanks for all the support, I have added digital models of the Descent Stage
and Sky Crane Stand
to Rebrickable so people can build the popular Sky Crane model shown in the image below.
The real Curiosity rover is about the size of a small SUV, over 7 feet tall (2.2 meters), and weighs almost 2000 lbs (900 kg). It uses scoops, cameras, drills, a powerful rock-vaporizing infrared laser, and 165 pounds (75 kilograms) of scientific instruments to perform its investigation.
I am a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the actual Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I combined this 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.
Anyone curious for more, can find additional images and a short video
of the rocker-bogie system on my Flickr page
. There are also pictures of a Descent Stage and Sky Crane
Be sure to check out NASA's latest video about Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror
. Visit the official Mars Science Laboratory website
to learn more about the real rover and its mission.