One of the great things about being here at Kennedy Space Center for the launch of STS-130 is getting to meet some of the other space enthusiasts who are also here for the launch. The Space Tweep Society has proven to be a great resource for connecting with fellow space geeks (specifically those active on Twitter), and it was through this group that I met John Knight. John is a SmartGrid Program Manager for Whirlpool Corporation who describes himself as a maker, geek dad, space enthusiast, and Lego fanatic.
“I’ve been building since 1976,” he said. “I have a lot of Lego and an entire room dedicated to them. My favorite building theme is Classic-Space.”
Last year, John created a 7-foot space ship and moon base for an exhibit at an art gallery in St. Joseph, Michigan. His latest Lego project is smaller in scale, but has reached a much larger audience. He used Lego’s Digital Designer, a tool that lets people create virtual sets, to create a set based on the Solar Dynamic Observatory that will be launched this week from Kennedy Space Center. SDO will study the solar atmosphere to help us better understand the sun’s influence on Earth and near-earth space. John’s set is a scale replica of SDO, and after working with the SDO team and representatives from Lego, the set was accepted for a much larger order than standard virtual kits (that can be ordered three at a time if parts are in stock) and is now available for purchase through the Lego web site*.
John described the experience as the perfect overlap between space geek and Lego enthusiast in the geek Venn diagram, and already has ideas brewing for his next project. His last non-Lego project was a working steampunk globe utilizing RFID tags and reader (Touchatag) to remote control Google Earth on a steampunked tablet computer.
* To Purchase this limited edition Lego set, follow these steps from John: Step 1) Download the latest version of Lego Digital Designer. Step 2) You should see a link to purchase the set. You will have to create an account with Lego. Step 3) Please be aware that your SDO set may have different graphics than some seen on the web. Those were special “limited” edition sets. Step 4) If you have ANY problems ordering please call Lego Customer Support at 1-800-838-9647 (US) or see Lego.com for other numbers.