NASA teams with Lego to offer coolest, most realistic model competition

NASA says it wants to inspire future aerospace engineers

nasa and lego

Seems like a natural fit: 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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According to NASA, participants will design and build their models from Lego bricks based on real concepts and new technology NASA's aeronautics innovators are working on to increase fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions and noise.

"Along with a creative, innovative, and well-built project, groups/individual participants must also be able to communicate their project's place in the overall aeronautics picture through the technical research component. Judging will be based on the quality of the prototype model, the research paper, and the ability of the model and paper to reflect and enhance the characteristics of each," the Lego web site states.

The contest will be divided into two categories.  The first: "Inventing our Future of Flight."  In addition to building a model from Lego bricks or using the Lego Digital Designer computer program, applicants in this category also must prepare and write a technical paper that explain how the contest design takes advantage of NASA's ideas and potentially improves on them, the space agency stated.

This category divides entrants into two groups: young student builders ages 13 to 18 and an open group for anyone age 13 and older. The two winners will receive a custom-made LEGO trophy and a collection of NASA memorabilia.

The second category: "Imagine our Future Beyond Earth" requires contestants to use their imaginations to design and build a futuristic vehicle from Lego bricks that might travel through the air or in space. It could be an airplane, rotorcraft, rocket, spacecraft, satellite, rover or something else. The design can be based in reality or purely a flight of fancy. This competition is open to entrants 16 or older. The grand prize is a LEGO set signed by the set's designer and a collection of NASA memorabilia.

Exact rules for the competition are HERE.

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