LEGO and NASA give you an out-of-the world experience with this Mars Rover set

The LEGO Group and NASA have collaborated on some interesting sets in the past. Yes, the ace space agency pioneering some of the most ambitious space missions has lent its expertise to create the NASA Mars Rover Perseverance model priced at just $100. They’ve bettered the rover released in mid-2023 with this beefier version that’s not a replica of any existing rover, rather, a fictional two-seater space vehicle released as a part of the Technic line-up.

This gave the design team more freedom to explore the possibilities without being too logical, or go all out and make it too sci-fi. According to Aurélien Rouffiange the design manager, “When you look at this vehicle, we want you to say, ‘Okay, that can happen.’ That is where we wanted to set the limit.” The result is a stunning 1,599-piece LEGO set that’ll be a treat to put together and flash on your living room shelf or work desk.

Designer: LEGO Group

The six-wheeled rover comes with an expanding truck bed, dual working crane, living quarter and loads of scientific equipment and logistics canisters to complete the feel. If you want to take it for a spin on rugged terrain, the NASA team has engineered a working suspension on this one. Calling this a campervan for space adventurers won’t be an overstatement, it’s that extensive. The open living space inside has ample space for a treadmill and shower for two astronauts to survive. Gosh, it already feels like I’m penning down the design logs of a sci-fi series…

The realism and attention to detail are something purists will appreciate. Right from the crew containers to store trash, Mars rocks or science samples to water oxygen and hydrogen. There’s even a fuel cell generator to recharge the batteries. Aurélien reassures that Hydrogen will be the future of drivetrains and NASA wants kids to learn that at a very early age. To keep things close to reality, the wheels are inspired by the rocker-bogie suspension found on the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers in operation on the red planet. The tires are colored gray to make them look like metal, just like the real Rover tires.

Based on the NASA team’s input the wheelbase of the vehicle had to be kept a bit short to make it a convincing iteration for any alien planet exploration. So, the LEGO team made a contracting chassis that can be configured at will. Aurélien added, “You can still drive it around in this compact mode, but, of course, it is not meant for that.” On the lighter side, NASA wanted a toilet for sure and the design team had to include the space for it!