Research, Technology

Why NASA sent LEGO figures and other toys to the moon

In mid-November 2022, aerospaceNASA officially launched the Artemis space program to return people to the moon. Within its framework, a woman will step onto the surface of a natural satellite of the Earth for the first time in history, and then the astronauts will build the Gateway circumlunar station. At the time of this writing on November 22, the Orion spacecraft has already flown to the Moon - it will make several circles in the near future and return back on December 11. There is not a single person inside, except for several dummies who are dressed in real astronaut costumes and equipped with sensors to assess their exposure to cosmic radiation. The data collected during the flight will help improve the health protection of future astronauts. As it turns out, there are also LEGO toys inside the Orion spacecraft and a few other unexpected things. What are they needed for?

The inside of the Orion spacecraft is full of toys, and they are there for a reason

The scientific publication spoke about the unusual payload of the NASA spacecraft. In addition to the description, the authors of the article shared photos of the strange cargo.


  • 1 Toy dog ​​Snoopy in space
  • 2 LEGO toys in the Orion spacecraft
  • 3 Shaun the Sheep in Space
  • 4 Yeast in space
  • 5 Cubsat to search for water on the Moon
  • 6 Lunar lander
  • 7 Asteroid Hunter
  • 8 Water powered spacecraft

Toy dog ​​Snoopy in space

Inside the Orion spacecraftsoft toy in the shape of a dog Snoopy, dressed in an orange OCSS costume - this is the outfit that participants in the Artemis program will wear. Snoopy is the main character of American comics and cartoons that came out from 1950 to 2000. In a 1969 issue of the comic, Snoopy the dog was on the Moon, and the Apollo 10 mission lunar module was also named after him. In addition to this, the dog is NASA's "safety mascot".

Snoopy dog ​​in OCSS space suit

Aboard the Orion spacecraft Snoopyserves as an indicator of weightlessness. When he began to fly around the cockpit, NASA experts realized that the force of gravity had ceased to act inside the ship. Weightlessness indicators in spacecraft are a common occurrence. Inside the Crew Dragon ship, for example, a plush dinosaur was used as an indicator.

The 2022 Snoopy poster sets the stage for the success of the Artemis 1 mission.

LEGO toys in the Orion spacecraft

The leaders of the Artemis 1 mission also put incockpit of the spaceship four figures from the designer LEGO. These are characters Keita and Kyle from the SPIKE Prime set, as well as Julie and Sebastian from the LEGO City set.

Lego figures sent into space

They are in space because they play an important role.a role in a LEGO educational show about going to the moon. The program will be interesting even for adults - below you can watch the first episode, the rest are posted on the LEGO Education YouTube channel.

The first edition of the educational program "Build to Launch"

Shaun the Sheep in space

Shaun the Sheep is another cartoon characterwhich are especially popular in the UK. He is a passenger on the Orion spacecraft because he is the hero of a post by the European Space Agency (ESA) - it tells how he prepares for the flight. The toy in the form of a lamb is dressed in an ESA costume. She went into space on the 15th anniversary of the animated series.

Shaun the Sheep toy that went into space and will be back soon

See also: What souvenirs does NASA send to space and why?

Yeast in space

The Artemis 1 mission was not limited to sending tospaceship space with toys. Together with Orion, a small BioSentinel spacecraft was sent into space, inside of which there is yeast. He separated from the main structure and flew away in order to fly around the Sun. By studying the returned yeast, scientists want to find out how cosmic radiation affects living organisms.

BioSentinel spacecraft with yeast on board

Cubesat to search for water on the moon

Together with the NASA spacecraft, asideThe moon set off a small satellite Lunar IceCube. With it, scientists hope to detect water ice on the surface of the moon and traces of water vapor. If they can be found, it will increase the likelihood that astronauts will be able to extract water directly on the moon - it will not have to be delivered from the Earth.

Lunar IceCube spacecraft

Lunar lander

Also, as part of the Artemis 1 mission to the moon,OMOTENASHI lander sent. It weighs only about 1 kilogram, but it must perform a very important task - the device will try to land on the surface of the moon. The knowledge gained will be useful to NASA specialists in the future.


You will be interested: Unique souvenirs from the USSR that have been in space

asteroid hunter

Another cubesat launched in space as part ofmission "Artemis 1" is called NEA Scout. It is equipped with a solar sail and a 20-megapixel NEACam camera. With the help of them, he must approach an asteroid, collect data about it and send it to Earth. After reviewing the collected information, scientists hope to learn more interesting facts about asteroids. When something becomes known, we will definitely tell you about it - do not forget to subscribe to our Telegram channel so as not to miss anything.

Asteroid hunter, NEA Scout

water powered spacecraft

EQUULEUS is another device that has beensent into space along with the Orion spacecraft. It was developed by Japanese scientists and is needed to analyze radiation in orbit between the Earth and the Moon. In fact, this is a small cubesat, but it has one important feature. It is equipped with a water engine that can minimize the consumption of conventional fuel.

EQUULEUS spacecraft with experimental engine

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At the end it is worth mentioning that the spaceshipOrion is equipped with a voice assistant, which is based on the Amazon Alexa assistant. The virtual assistant was called "Callisto". You can read more about it here.