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Submission + - LEGO Curiosity Rover (

DevotedSkeptic writes: "The Curiosity model was designed by Stephen Pakbaz (a.k.a. Perijove), and it looks really good. It achieved its 10,000 votes on August 18, and is one of only three models to do so in time for the fall review.

First and foremost, the design accurately represents the function of Curiosity's rocker-bogie suspension system. It is really hard to understand intuitively how this design works to keep the rover body nearly level even as the machine is driving over rocks of similar height to the rover's wheels. The six wheels are attached to a suspension system that is itself attached to the body of the rover at only three places, all of them passive pivots — two on the sides and one on top. The one on top is a part of a differential that connects the right and left sides, which is key to making the whole thing work.

The model's arm and mast head are articulated in a way that accurately represents the real thing, and allows you to place the parts of the rover in the positions they'd occupy when doing their thing on Mars. There are spots representing the inlet ports for the two lab instruments, SAM and CheMin, and all three of the antennas are represented (the HGA even pivots and swivels).

LEGO may choose to put the model in to production and if it does, the kit could potentially reach many children (and big children) keeping minds opened and imaginations stimulated."

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LEGO Curiosity Rover

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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"