June 28, 2022

Want a LEGO James Webb Space Telescope? It Even Folds Up

Want a LEGO James Webb Space Telescope? It Even Folds Up
Want a LEGO James Webb Space Telescope? It Even Folds UpWant a LEGO James Webb Space Telescope? It Even Folds Up

As we all anticipate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) later this year (hopefully), LEGO designers are hoping for a “launch” of their own. A new LEGO design of JWST is currently gathering supporters on the LEGO Ideas website. If it gets enough support, LEGO will review it and possibly create it.

As of today (August 12, 2021), the idea has just under 1,500 supporters, with the goal of 10,000. If you want your very own JWST model, cast your vote of support!

(You’ll need to create a LEGO account to vote or comment on the site.)

LEGO itself says the design for the build-a-block JWST is “well made.” It includes many impressive details of the actual telescope, such as the foldable mirror segments and sunshade.

The folded LEGO JWST, ready for launch! Credit: LEGO.

The real JWST will be the largest space telescope ever launched. Since it is so big, the big mirror and gigantic sunshade must be folded up to fit inside the Ariane 5 rocket, and then will be unfolded once it is in space.

“Just like the real JWST, this LEGO JWST model folds into a stowed position for launch, features all of the major moving components, and is roughly to scale with the NASA engineer minifigure shown,” says the  description of the LEGO JWST.  

The designer, who says they are an astronomer, notes that creating the hexagonal mirror segments took some time to figure out, but they use triangular yellow Lego signs to make them.

“I am an astronomer and I am amazed at the complexity of JWST. There are so many moving parts and systems that all have to operate together to make the telescope work. I wanted to build a model to help others appreciate this incredible machine and learn the basics of how a telescope works.”

The LEGO replica models JWST’s curved primary mirror made up of 18 movable hexagonal segments, as well as its hinged secondary mirror. It also incorporates all of JWST’s major subsystems, including the science instruments, and the propulsion, power, and communications subsystems.

“I hope this LEGO set will help builders understand the remarkable engineering that goes into creating a huge space telescope,” says the designer.

You can follow updates on the LEGO project, and see more details on Twitter.

You can read our interview with JWST project scientist John Mather here.