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Design the future of space exploration with Lego

NASA and Lego have joined forces for a competition that will see participants designing the future of NASA — in Lego.

(Credit: Lego)

NASA and Lego have joined forces for a competition that will see participants designing the future of NASA — in Lego.

Fancy yourself a bit of a Lego maestro? Love space exploration? Now's your chance to put the two together in a joint competition being run by Lego and NASA. The toy company and space agency, which have a long-standing relationship, have just announced NASA's Missions: Imagine and Build, a competition in two categories to create the future of space exploration in Lego.

The first category, called Imagine Our Future Beyond Earth, which is open to entrants over the age of 16, calls on builders to design in Lego one of NASA's future space missions, such as the manned mission to Mars, or the plan to lasso an asteroid (we are kind of hoping that someone makes a cowboy astronaut for that one).

The second category, Inventing the Future of Flight, is a little more academic. Open to entrants over the age of 13, it will require participants to design their own Lego prototype of the "aircraft of tomorrow" — anything from aeroplanes to satellites to rovers, either based in reality or crafted entirely from the designer's imagination. Alongside it, however, participants will have to submit a technical paper explaining how the prototype embodies the future of aeronautics, as well as the current problem within aeronautics that the prototype is addressing.

This second category will put entrants into two groups: "young builders", which is anyone between 13 and 18, and "overall", which is everyone.

The prizes are pretty neat, too. For Imagine Our Future Beyond Earth, the grand prize winner will receive the Lego Cuusoo Hayabusa set autographed by Lego designer Melody Louise Caddick, an honourable mention on NASA's website and a signed photograph of the VIP NASA astronaut who will be part of the judging panel (yet to be named).

The Inventing the Future of Flight winner will receive a custom-made Lego trophy, a collection of NASA memorabilia and the opportunity to give a virtual presentation of the project to NASA and/or Lego specialists.

Entrants need to be over 13 and a member of the ReBrick website, and the competition closes on 31 July at 10.59pm AEST. The full terms and conditions for Imagine Our Future Beyond Earth can be found here, and for Inventing the Future of Flight here.