May 27, 2023

This Lego Ideas concept would let you build NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

This Lego Ideas concept would let you build NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
This Lego Ideas concept would let you build NASA’s James Webb Space TelescopeThis Lego Ideas concept would let you build NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will become the largest telescope to ever be launched into space, and Lego could be launching its own buildable model replica, if the idea gains enough support. 

This idea to for a Lego replica of the giant telescope into production comes from Lego Ideas creator tonysmyuncle and has already received over 600 supporters. In total, it will need 10,000 supporters for it to go to an expert review before the winner is announced — but there is plenty of time to support the idea with 417 days left before the votes are counted.

To show support and potentially get this model to production, all you have to do is login or create an account with Lego and click “support” —  you can do that here.

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Lego Ideas James Webb Space Telescope

(Image credit: Lego Ideas)

The real life James Webb Space Telescope telescope is due to be launched later this year and is so large, it will have to be folded in order to fit it inside the rocket that will transport it to space. Once it reaches its observing point in space, it will unfold its tennis court size sun shield and begin observing the cosmos.. 

The Lego Ideas version does keep this feature for the buildable model as it can be folded into a stowed position for launch —  and it comes with all the moving components and it’s even roughly to scale with the astronaut minifigure. 

“This model ‘unfolds’ just like the real thing, so builders can see how this telescope transforms after it launches into space,” its project description reads.

“This replica models JWST’s curved primary mirror made up of 18 movable hexagonal segments, as well as its hinged secondary mirror,” according to the description.

The buildable model will incorporate major subsystems which will include “the science instruments and the propulsion, power and communication subsystems.”

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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has successfully deployed its giant primary mirror, putting the new observatory one big step closer to being ready for launch in 2021. The entire 256-inch (6.5 meters) primary mirror assembly unfurled into the same configuration that it would be after deploying in space. This critical test took place in early March, right before NASA's centers shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Work on the Webb telescope was temporarily halted on March 20.

(Image credit: Chris Gunn/NASA)
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Technicians recently deployed the 21.3-foot-wide (6.5 meters) primary mirror of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope for the final time on Earth.

(Image credit: Chris Gunn/NASA)
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Work on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has paused as California imposes restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus-carried disease COVID-19.

(Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)
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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, the agency's next giant space telescope, is seen completely assembled for the first time at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California in this image released Aug. 28, 2019.

(Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

With a lifetime of at least 5 to10 years, the JWST mission includes over 1,200 scientists, engineers and technicians from 14 different countries as well as 29 states working on its construction..

As well as being the largest telescope ever placed in outer space, JSWT will also be 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, but it is an infrared observatory and does not observe in visible light like Hubble.

There’s still over a year for this project to gather the support it needs to go to an expert review but, if the project reaches the 1,000 supporter milestone, it will be allowed a further 6 months to reach the necessary 10,000 milestone. The same will happen once it reaches 5,000 supporters. 

The aim of making this model is to allow builders to understand the complexities and the remarkable engineering that goes into making a large telescope like the JWST.

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