Last week, LEGO announced the results of the LEGO Ideas second 2016 review period, which included twelve qualifying projects that achieved 10,000 public votes. Based on the announcement, the next LEGO Ideas set is going to be Women of NASA by Maia Weinstock (a.k.a 20tauri), and LEGO is still considering the Voltron – Defender of the Universe by len_d69. Further details below on both projects, and more. 🙂
LEGO released a fairly long video-announcement with LEGO Ideas Marketing Manager, Lise Dydensborg, discussing the twelve projects in the review period. She also mentions that the LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set should be available sometime at the end of this year/beginning of next year.
As a science editor and writer for MIT, with a strong personal interest for space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering, Maia’s Women of NASA project was a way for her to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions. In particular those who’ve made a big impact through their work at NASA. Her project obviously resonated with others as it reached the required 10,000 votes in just 15 days!
There is a very interesting interview with Maia on the LEGO Ideas blog where she shares how the idea for the project came about: “I played with LEGO as a child in the 1980s, but my connection to it faded as I grew older. I became interested again in late 2009, when I thought to make a custom minifigure of a friend who is a scientist. I subsequently decided to design more of these for other scientists, and to photograph them and put them online. I also began trying to meet up with scientists and engineers after I make a minifigure of them, and it’s always amusing to see their reaction. I’ve said before, and it’s really true, that I feel like Santa Claus when this happens, because even the most well-regarded, world-renowned scientists and engineers light up like a kid on Christmas when they see their minifig in person.”… “The Women of NASA set combines several of my personal passions: space exploration, the history of women in science and engineering, and, of course, LEGO. In 2014, I curated an art exhibit featuring portraits of women in science, and for my part of the exhibit I mounted and framed individual minifigures of real-life scientists that I’d previously designed. They were a huge hit. So the frame part of the model stems from that idea, as I thought people might like to build their own display featuring minifigs of accomplished women in the STEM professions. The vignettes came second, and for those I wanted to contextualize each person in terms of her contribution to NASA history.”
NASA projects are very much in the news these days, and it is nice to see that people are yet again showing more interest in space exploration. The LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set also comes on the heels of the recently released and very well received film titled Hidden Figures. The movie follows the lives of three African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson was a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions, Dorothy Vaughan was the first black supervisor at NASA and one of the few female supervisors, and Mary Jackson was NASA’s first black female engineer.
Katherine Johnson is included as one of the scientists in LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set, and the other four minifigs are based on computer scientist Margaret Hamilton who developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo mission to the moon in the 1960s, astronaut Sally Ride who became the first American woman in space in 1983, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman who is known as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope, and astronaut Mae Jemison who was the first African-American woman in space in 1992.
In addition to a desktop frame that displays these five minifigures and their names, the set includes some small vignettes depicting a famous photo of the reams of code that landed astronauts on the moon in 1969, the instruments used to calculate and verify trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions, a microscale Hubble Space Telescope and display, and a mini space shuttle complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.
And Women of NASA is a worthy successor of the #21110 LEGO Ideas Research Institute from 2014, which was also well-received and sold out very quickly. In fact, the two sets are similar in more than one way; both highlighted women in scientific fields, and both come with several minifigures and small vignettes. While we are waiting for LEGO Ideas Women of NASA to be released, you can also check out the currently available LEGO Ideas sets originally designed by LEGO fans at the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.
Although the other project in the review were not approved, LEGO is still considering the Voltron – Defender of the Universe by len_d69. My guess is that LEGO likes the model and would like to produce it, but they have to work out licensing agreements. Robots are always popular, so the set should do well. We should hear the final decision sometime this summer.
In the meantime, the next batch of LEGO Ideas projects are already in review. These are the submissions that reached 10,000 supporters between September 2016 and January 2017 as possible future LEGO sets. The LEGO Ideas team will share the results of their decision this summer as well.
What do you think? How do you like the results of this latest LEGO Ideas announcement? Are you excited about the new set, or would you have preferred one of the other projects? Which models would you like to see becoming an official LEGO set from the next review period? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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