Lego City: better on the moon than on earth
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Lego City: better on the moon than on earth

Martin Jungfer
Zurich, on 10.05.2022

With a moon station, a space station and a rover for the lunar surface, Lego has launched a new City series. The sets are a lot of fun for me to build and play with - more than others in the City series.

Sometime before 2030, the U.S. space agency Nasa, together with other international space organizations, wants to send humans to the moon again - many decades after the last man, Eugene Cernan, walked on the dusty surface of the Earth's satellite in 1972. What the Apollo program was in the 1960s and 1970s, the Artemis program is supposed to do in modern times: bring people to the moon.

«Wir verlassen jetzt Taurus-Littrow, wie wir einst gekommen sind und, wenn Gott es will, werden wir zurückkehren in Frieden und Hoffnung für die gesamte Menschheit. Gute Reise der Besatzung von Apollo 17.»
Eugen Cernan, bislang letzter Mensch auf dem Mond

And this time, ideally, they should even be able to stay there permanently. A so-called habitat module is planned for this purpose, in principle a house in which people can live and conduct research on the moon. In addition, Nasa wants to find out how humans can live outside the Earth's atmosphere for longer periods of time - even longer than on the ISS. This is an important question, should mankind at some point want to venture the journey to Mars. After all, just the journey there and back to Mars takes about a year and a half.

Fascination with outer space is a good way to earn money on Earth. Just think of the many shirts and hoodies with the Nasa logo. Lego also feels the sales potential and therefore launched the new City series in the spring, which is inspired by the Artemis program.

Lunar Research Base (60350, LEGO City)
82.40
LEGO Lunar Research Base (60350, LEGO City)
8
Lunar rover (60348, LEGO City)
25.90
LEGO Lunar rover (60348, LEGO City)
4
Lunar Space Station (60349, LEGO City)
45.40
LEGO Lunar Space Station (60349, LEGO City)
2

I built the three sets that Lego provided me with. For me, they are the best City models in a long time. I'm especially excited about the Moon Station. The designers at Lego have done a great job here. You build it up in individual parts that, when put together, make a logical and easily playable whole. You can then use the mini-figures to carry out moon missions that you dream up yourself.

Or, of course, the child with whom you undertake the lunar adventure. Because actually the sets are made for children from six and seven years. But that shouldn't stop you from building your own. Older men - and women, too - are allowed and able to do so, as I recently proved with Guido Schwarz, the founder and director of the "Swiss Space Museum".

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The inspiration of the Lego designs by the Artemis program is clearly recognizable. Especially in the lunar rover, with which the astronauts are to explore terrain, and in the space station in orbit around the moon. Here, the Lego sets already look very similar to the prototypes.

Die Visualisierung der Nasa zeigt den Mond-Rover und Astronauten bei der Arbeit in der Gegend um den Südpol des Monds.
Die Visualisierung der Nasa zeigt den Mond-Rover und Astronauten bei der Arbeit in der Gegend um den Südpol des Monds.
Foto: Nasa

The Lego vehicle has six wheels that can rotate 360 degrees. So you can drive it in any direction. Try that with a terrestrial vehicle from the Lego City series, which usually don't even have a steerable axle. I also liked the tools that the astronauts can mount on their backpacks. The rover itself, much like a crab, has two arms that are equipped with some sort of detector and a drill.

Bei mir wecken die Werkzeug-Arme des Mond-Rovers irgendwie Erinnerungen an den Zahnarztbesuch.
Bei mir wecken die Werkzeug-Arme des Mond-Rovers irgendwie Erinnerungen an den Zahnarztbesuch.

As yet, there are few concrete designs for the real lunar base. Basic concepts are to be created first by the end of the decade.

Diese Visualisierung zeigt mögliche Formen der Mondbasis.
Diese Visualisierung zeigt mögliche Formen der Mondbasis.
Foto: ESA / P. Carril

Lego has already gone further and equipped the lunar base with a kind of mini-greenhouse, so that the future lunar inhabitants will perhaps be able to eat a leaf of fresh basil with their space-food bolognese.

Im Labor herrscht entspannte Arbeitsatmosphäre. Womöglich gibt es zum Abendessen ja die erste Space-Karotte.
Im Labor herrscht entspannte Arbeitsatmosphäre. Womöglich gibt es zum Abendessen ja die erste Space-Karotte.

Another module contains a laboratory, and there's also one where astronauts can get into their space suits before a walk outside. Or get ready for a ride. For the Lego set also includes a kind of mini snow plow, although I rather doubt that it snows on the moon. Presumably something has to be leveled here. In addition, there are other small elements to play with. Specifically, a drone, a mini-rover, and a boulder with some kind of crystals stuck inside.

The lunar station is completed by the lunar lander. With this, the astronauts can fly from the lunar surface back to the space station, which will permanently orbit around the moon. Two astronaut figures fit in there. And thus one more than in each room of the "modern family home", which has been shrunk to the point of unplayability.

Conclusion: finally once again a City series to play with

After some disappointments with City sets including the connection problems when switching to the new street system, the Artemis-inspired space sets are once again a bright spot for me. Sure, there are criticisms to be made - as is so often the case with Lego. The sets aren't exactly a bargain, but after all, Lego's suggested retail prices are just that: a recommendation. You could put the sets on your watch list in our store and wait for a good price, if they are currently still too expensive for you.

And yes, the stickers are really annoying. But I struggled through the pain of carefully peeling them off and applying them as accurately as possible and also quickly forgot about it because the result is convincing. The only thing missing from my personal Artemis program now is actually the right space center on Earth. I'm afraid I won't be able to resist the temptation much longer.

Space Center (60351, LEGO City, LEGO Rare Sets)
149.–
LEGO Space Center (60351, LEGO City, LEGO Rare Sets)
2

P.S.: Unfortunately, the cover picture for this article was not taken in space or even on the moon. The editorial budget is not enough for that. I simply dragged the famous photo "Earthrise" of Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders onto my monitor and used it as background.

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Journalist since 1997. Stopovers in Franconia (or the Franken region), Lake Constance, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zurich. Father since 2014. Expert in editorial organisation and motivation. Focus on sustainability, home office tools, beautiful things for the home, creative toys and sports equipment. 


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