Today in interplanetary cuteness: famed astronomer Galileo Galilei—the man who first discovered the moons of Jupiter—is finally visiting the great gas giant himself, albeit in minifig form. A Lego version of the Italian scientists—made from aluminum, instead of plastic, to better stand up to the rigors of space travel—was included in the payload of the Juno space probe that achieved orbit around the planet yesterday. The Lego Galileo—besides being pretty fun to say—was provided to NASA by the Danish toy company as part of an outreach program to get kids interested in space exploration. (He’s also accompanied by minifigures of the Roman god Jupiter, and his wife, the probe’s namesake, Juno.)
The trio might be the first Lego to leave orbit—Juno’s 2011 launch pre-dates Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen bringing a number of the plastic blocks with him when he journeyed to the International Space Station in 2015. More importantly, they represent the furthest that modular, block-based entertainment has traveled away from the Earth. Perhaps, someday, after we’ve all Trumped ourselves out of existence, alien explorers will come across Juno, and through our molded works, know the human race. “Their heads came off easily,” they will note, running unknown phalanges over our strange, claw-like hands. “And they hurt like hell if you stepped on them with bare feet.” We did, distant alien friends. We did.