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Jupiter-bound Legonauts in giant leap for toykind

By Jove! The Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and third-wheel Galileo, all in Lego form, are en route to our solar system's largest planet.

Lego minifigures of the Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei may colonize Jupiter and their progeny may conquer Earth in the future. NASA/JPL-Caltech/KSC

NASA launched its Juno spacecraft today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying three intrepid astronauts toward Jupiter.

The trio embarking on this dangerous five-year mission are only 1.5 inches tall, but their courage is giant. The Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and astronomer Galileo, all in Lego form, left Earth aboard 2.5 million pounds of thrust coming out of an Atlas V rocket for a date with our planet's biggest brother in 2016.

"The inclusion of the three mini-statues, or figurines, is part of a joint outreach and educational program developed as part of the partnership between NASA and the Lego Group to inspire children to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," NASA said of the plastic pals.

If extraterrestrials abduct the craft, they may puzzle over the minifigures' accoutrements. Wildly bearded Jupiter carries lightning bolts to signify his status as a thunder god.

Juno, meanwhile, has a magnifying glass as a sign of her search for truth (apparently she can see right through Jupiter's cloud disguise). Also-bearded Galileo holds a telescope to honor his observations of the gas giant and its Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which were named for him.

From 3D printers to robot hands to interplanetary explorers, there ain't nothing Lego can't do.

I bet they colonize Jupiter and return to Earth and remold humans in their image. Who knows what crop will spring from this space seed?