The Mars lander Curiosity has been honoured by Mattel in the form of a Hot Wheels collectible.
Released last week, the die-cast toy is a 1:64 scale model of the Mars rover, with a pull-back motor, rubber treads and the NASA logo displayed proudly on the front.
It's not perfect, missing the Curiosity's sky crane rig, parachute or cruise stage, but it also won't cost the US$2.5 billion that NASA spent on the Mars Science Laboratory program — if you want the little rover to drive around your desk or pop in the Christmas stocking of a space-loving child, it'll set you back around US$7.99 from Amazon.
According to Collect Space, this is the first commemorative NASA Hot Wheels toy since 1999, when Mattel released an action pack containing scale models of NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter, Deep Space 2 microprobe and Mars Polar Lander. However, the pack failed to replicate the runaway success of the previous Sojourner and Galileo probe packs.
We're glad to see the collaboration back — and we're keeping our fingers crossed for another action pack, where the rover will be accompanied by little rover buddies.