first_imgAs the shuttle Endeavour embarked on its final voyage Monday, it carried not only astronauts, but a few other passengers as well. On board was the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer — a particle physics experiment module — and the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, which is a piece of equipment for the International Space Station that supplies electrical power, and mechanical mounting surfaces, among other things. Besides these two items, the Endeavour transported a few objects that were a little more unusual, including Nematode worms, squid embryos, and LEGO kits.These LEGOS, part of LEGO’s Bricks in Space program, are officially the first ever LEGO blocks in space. Dr. Julie Robinson, chief scientist at NASA for the ISS, told Robert Sigel of NPR that NASA aims to start helping students focus on careers in science and technology at a young age. And what better way to do that than with LEGOs? The astronauts will build the models to show children how microgravity effects how simple machines work.NASA has built a relationship with LEGO to help kids that are interested in LEGOs and in space to start focusing on some of the research and the math that goes behind these space missions. The astronauts will conduct experiments and share their results with students and teachers back on Earth via video and commentary from the crew that will be brought back to Earth.One LEGO-building astronaut is Cady Coleman, who you might remember from the video of her and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson performing the first ever space-earth flute duet. Coleman, who currently lives in the ISS, will be the first person to build LEGO models in space. She even went through LEGO space training. These astronauts won’t be spending hours upon hours assembling the models though, parts of the LEGO models have been built in advance to save some of the astronauts’ time.Coleman will build the pre-built models in a clear glove box so that the little pieces don’t get lost in the station, resulting in a Simpsons space-potato chip fiasco where the tiny pieces are floating around potentially clogging the instruments.The Bricks in Space program is due to start in September for students and teachers.Read more at LEGOSpace.com, via Gizmodo, Wired, NPRlast_img

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