The LEGO Discovery theme was available in 2003. It was licensed from the Discovery Channel and featured the Discovery Kids logo on the boxes. However, the models were based on actual vehicles used by NASA in its exploration of space. In LEGO’s attempt to create as realistic reproductions as possible, many of the models have the National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo on them.
International Space Station
Item #: 7467
The International Space Station is a joint venture between 15 nations. In 1998, this habitable artificial satellite was launched into low Earth orbit. It is the largest man made object in space and, if conditions are right, can be seen from Earth without the need to a telescope. The ISS has become an important tool for experiments in biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and many other scientific fields.
The ISS is a continuous construction project and its physical appearance has changed over the year. The LEGO model is based on its form in 2001. Due to the ISS’s immense size, this would be one of the first LEGO Microscale sets. The term microscale means it is not in the standard minifigure scale. The set did come with a mini-scale model of a NASA space shuttle to help give it proportion. The solar panels used stickers, but the shuttle cockpit piece was printed and only available in this set.
Item #: 10029
- Apollo Astronaut (2)
The Apollo Lunar Module was created by the US Apollo program and one of the three sections that made up the Apollo spacecraft. The lander was designed to transport 2 astronauts to the moon’s surface. Beginning in 1969, NASA was able to conduct 6 successful moon landings.
This was the only LEGO Discovery theme set to include minifigures. The NASA logo appeared for the first time on the torso piece of these figures. The grey ascent stage section separates from the descent stage section to reveal a detailed interior. The model was scaled to the minifigures and one of the most realistically detailed ships within the Discovery theme.
Mars Exploration Rover
Item #: 7471
The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity were sent to study the surface and geology of Mars for 90 days. The rovers were launched in 2003 and reached Mars in 2004. They remained functional well past their intended operational time frame and were given several mission extensions.
To recreate the the rove's design that allowed it to roll across the harsh Mars surface, LEGO used many TECHNIC pieces in their model. Separate knobs and buttons activated the interactive features. Builders can steer the wheels, unfold the solar panels, operate the camera boom and manipulate a drilling probe.
Mission To Mars
Item #: 7469
The 2001 Mars Odyssey was place aboard a Delta II rocket and launched on April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral. The robotic spacecraft was equipped with spectrometers and electronic imagers to search for evidence of water or volcanic activity on Mars, as it orbited the planet. It was also used as a communication relay back to Earth for the Mars Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory and Phoenix Lander.
The set came with four main models, that were all designed to different scales. The Delta II Rocket and launch tower were similar in scale and are meant to be used together. As the main model of the set, the 2001 Mars Odyssey was larger in scale, than the rocket used to transport it to Mars. This allowed for more detail in its design. There is also a small Mars Exploration Rover for the Odyssey to communicate with.
Saturn V Moon Mission
Item #: 7468
The Apollo program was the third human spaceflight project developed by NASA and the first to have a man land on the Earth's Moon.
This building set contained four vehicles from NASA's Apollo program. A smaller version of the Lunar Lander Module represent man landing on the moon. While the lunar rover allowed the astronauts to explore the surface. There was a complete Saturn V rocket ready to launch into space and the command/service module to bring the astronauts home. These models were not built to be in scale with each other.
Space Shuttle Discovery-STS-31
Item #: 7470
This set was based on the STS-31 space mission. NASA's space shuttle Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 24, 1990, to deliver the Hubble Space Telescope into low Earth orbit. Discovery was a partially reusable space shuttle. These shuttles were used for 135 missions before being retired. The Hubble Space Telescope is able to observe near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared light. It has given us some of the most spectacular and informative pictures of our universe.
The main model in this set is the space shuttle Discovery. The bay doors on top can open and fit the Hubble Telescope model inside. Discovery has a robotic arm to lift the telescope. The rear and side wing flips are adjustable and the landing gear can be lowered or retracted.
Geekdom (author) on May 27, 2015:
I know, I missed them too. :( Thanks for sharing your favorites from the them.
PaigSr from State of Confusion on May 27, 2015:
Way to remind me I missed these when the first became available. With that being said. I am bummed that I missed some of them. Space Shuttle Discovery-STS-31 and Mars Exploration Rover are the two that have caught my eye. Thanks for sharing them with us.