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NASA Teams With LEGO To Offer Model Competition

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the build-and-win dept.

NASA 34

coondoggie writes "NASA today said it would team up with Lego to offer a competition to see who can build the coolest models of future airplanes and spacecraft. The 'NASA's Missions: Imagine and Build' competition is open now with an entry deadline of July 31. Winners in each category will be selected by a panel of NASA and LEGO officials and announced Sept. 1."

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Spaceballs Winnebago (3, Funny)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#43920161)

Oh, I wish I had pics of the Winnebago I built when I was a kid... It was complete with a toilet, a ladder that extended down from a hatch in the bottom, and of course the ludicrouspeed drives that flipped out from a compartment in the back.

Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43920521)

I mean, why NASA has to go the LEGO route when free and opensource 3D raytracing programs are available to all ?

Furthermore, constructing space crafts using LEGO means people are unnecessarily being restricted by availability of the shape/size/color of the LEGO blocks

On 3D programs people get to create whatever shape/size and use whatever color they want, on their creations

Re:Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43920613)

I mean, why NASA has to go the LEGO route when free and opensource 3D raytracing programs are available to all ?

My impression from reading the article is that LEGO is very involved in organizing and funding this contest, and they have no interest in promoting something that is not their product.

Re:Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920667)

you obviously haven't checked to see what sort of budget NASA's getting...all they can afford is LEGOs now.

Re:Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920731)

you obviously haven't checked to see what sort of budget NASA's getting...all they can afford is LEGOs now

GP talked about open sourced 3D programs, which are available to ALL, free

Which means, NASA ain't gonna have to pay a single dime of their budget for those 3D programs to begin with

Re:Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#43921015)

Or maybe for the same reason that Minecraft is the 3D design tool of choice for millions over real 3D software: accessibility. Lego is the "easiest" way to prototype something.
Lego learning curve is virtually non existent. It takes ages to build something meaningful, the amount of detail is very limited, but literally anyone with hands can do it.
There is also brand name. People love popular brands. Do you think this /. article would even exist if NASA decided to partner with Blender or AutoDesk?
Finally, reading the article I can't help but to think that Lego is a sponsor and this is nothing but a marketing campaign.

Re:Why LEGO when we have 3D raytracing programs ? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43922463)

Because with Lego there's still some semblance of engineering involved. With 3D ray tracing it just becomes an art contest instead.

Re:Spaceballs Winnebago (1)

sleigher (961421) | about a year ago | (#43920925)

Really? All I could think of was the prettiest nerd girl I could create with legos... oh well...

Re:Spaceballs Winnebago (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about a year ago | (#43921391)

perhaps that's exactly what NASA is looking for...a future spacecraft that looks like an old Winnebago. oh imagine the aerodynamics of that puppy!

Re:Spaceballs Winnebago (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#43921695)

Luckily spacecraft dont need aerodynamics.

ship craft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920225)

minecraft would have been a good option too

Sorry if but.. (0)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43920271)

Why don't we decimate NASA from all it's ridicules fat cats, so that we can afford real project like going to the moon or even mars.
Don't build toys, Build real rockets. If you haven't already forgotten how to.

Re:Sorry if but.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920421)

Another great project would be to teach you to spell.

Re:Sorry if but.. (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43920871)

Perhaps slashdot could integrate with google.translate some day.

Re:Sorry if but.. (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43922497)

To be fair he seemed to be able to spell just fine, it was the inability to form meaningful sentences that was the problem.

Re:Sorry if but.. (2, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43920533)

Don't build toys, Build real rockets. If you haven't already forgotten how to.

If you read the article, you will see the the prize is just a set of legos and some NASA memorabilia. There is no cash prize, and the Lego sets are donated by Lego. This is costing the taxpayers nothing, is not taking any funds away from NASA's "real" missions, and just might inspire some kids to do something meaningful with their lives.

Re:Sorry if but.. (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43920825)

My point is that NASA should focus on space exploration, R&D etc. instead of promoting toys.
Lego are doing really great on their own.
I just think that NASA should be a bit embarrassing, wasting time on PR campaigns and product branding, piggybacking on an already successful toy manufacturer.
It kind of puts things into perspective, when you think about what people at NASA did in the sixties.
Instead of doing business and mingling with Lego, NASA should be worried about how to build a working scramjet, single stage rockets and new propulsion systems.

>and just might inspire some kids to do something meaningful with their lives.
Show them the Apollo program on youtube.
And tell them the story. When dad was young, the rockets where three times as powerful as what we have today.
You could fly to Paris from New York in the morning on the Concorde and be back for dinner.
Back then we had ambitions, to go to the moon, build space stations. Real science fiction.
You could probably fit all the combined computing power that was available to NASA forty years ago in the palm of your hand, if you own a smartphone.
But at the time, it was enough. Think about what can be done today, with the available technology and materials.

Relevancy? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43920641)

I fail to see how this may foster NASA's progress to its (supposed) goals. Any ideas?

Re:Relevancy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920683)

Kids make models => kids want to become engineers => kids grow up and work for NASA and build future ships

On the other hand ... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43920795)

Kids make models => kids want to become engineers => kids grow up and work for NASA and build future ships

On the other hand, with the use of open sourced3D ray-tracing programs ...

Kids make 3D models on screen

=> kids can test out their 3D models with simulation programs available online (many open sourced) while learning about aerodynamics at the same time

=> kids fine-tuning / enhancing / modifying their 3D models

=> kids get all excited and learn more about various rocket engine designs

=> kids unknowingly become very knowledgeable in things that will open a lot of doors for them

=> kids become space craft designers on their own rights

=> profit !

Re:On the other hand ... (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43922173)

That is really not how kids work. They want immediate results, they do not want to fiddle with a program for a week to get their design to a stage they are happy with. If that happens they will find other stuff to do.
This exercise is about getting kids interested, not weed out the majority because they don't have the patience for 3D modelling. Come time when they do, and stand in front of the choice "do I become an engineer?" you want them to remember their brush with NASA fondly, not as a week of endless torment in front of a program they didn't understand.

+1 Insightful Virtual Mod Point (1)

arfonrg (81735) | about a year ago | (#43924095)

'cause I got no real mod points...

Re:On the other hand ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925807)

or spend 23 bucks (cheaper then legos) and play kerbal space prgoram, and have your rockets fail in various levels of hilarity.

but that feeling when you successfully build a multilaunch interplanetary exploration ship is priceless.

Lots of Nasa folks play it.

Re:Relevancy? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43922487)

Because young kids building space ships keeps them interested in space such that they may become future scientists or engineers in the field.

Just use CAD... (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | about a year ago | (#43923347)

and then build in legos. Just like Legoland.

nice information (1)

ppgbschool (2943521) | about a year ago | (#43923813)

nice information

How the mighty has fallen.... (1)

arfonrg (81735) | about a year ago | (#43924103)

In the 60's (with SLIDE RULES) NASA built the Apollo program and put men on the moon. Today we can't lift our own astronauts into space and NASA's 'move ahead' plan is to play with Legos. Pathetic

Re:How the mighty has fallen.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925021)

NASA has had educational outreach programs all the way back to their start in the late 50s, including model building contests...

Lego Digtial Designer - Free 3D-ish (1)

jzarling (600712) | about a year ago | (#43924675)

http://ldd.lego.com/en-us/ [lego.com]

Lego has their own free 3D-ish design program. I have played with it a bit - it can be finicky, but it's pretty cool.

...but this was a contest for children! (1)

slagheap (734182) | about a year ago | (#43924947)

Yeah! And Homer beat their brains out!

US Liberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926849)

Don't think they will twitting about the attack on the US Liberty.

Dear Lego, please bring back Classic Space (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#43943463)

Maybe this will inspire Lego to bring back a line like the old Classic Space series. The space sets they make are fine, but I wish they'd bring back a "pure" space series: no aliens to fight, no giant space bugs, no space police and villains -- just exploration, discovery, and settling. For a nice example of how to update the line, check this out. [brothers-brick.com]

Key words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43954059)

Some key words

  • toy
  • nasa
  • lego
  • money

Re:Key words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43954125)

These are tags:

  • toy
  • nasa
  • legos
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