It’s easy to be amazed by the pictures captured by the James Webb Space Telescope while being completely oblivious to the sheer complex beauty of the telescope itself. For astronomer and LEGO builder @tonysmyuncle, the telescope itself represented a major leap in design and engineering, and he almost instantly fell in love with how complex yet ingenious it was. “I wanted to build a model to help others appreciate this incredible machine,” the LEGO builder said. “I hope this LEGO set will help builders and students worldwide understand the remarkable engineering that went into creating this enormous space telescope and learn the basics of how a telescope works.”
The James Webb Space Telescope was so large that it had to be “folded” to fit within the rocket and “unfolded” after it was launched into space – a highly complicated (and expensive) action that required incredible amounts of precision and accuracy. “Just like the real JWST, this LEGO JWST model folds into a stowed position for launch, features all of the major moving components, and is roughly to scale with a standard LEGO Minifigure”, reads the project description on the LEGO Ideas forum. The replica even comes with the 18 iconic hexagon mirrors that make up the telescope’s light-gathering reflector module.
The miniature LEGO replica comes with every single conceivable component of the JWST, including even the secondary hinged mirror and that layered sun shield at the bottom. All of JWST’s major subsystems are incorporated, including the science instruments, and the propulsion, power, and communications subsystems. The model was designed to fold and unfold exactly like the real telescope, aiming at allowing LEGO builders to really understand and appreciate exactly how complicated and beautiful this marvel of engineering is!
The NASA’s JWST project currently has 3,466 votes on the LEGO Ideas forum. If it reaches 10,000 votes, LEGO will turn the fan-made idea into a box-set that consumers can buy. You can vote for the NASA’s JWST LEGO build here.