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The search is on for alien life in our Solar System!
With its icy surface and underground ocean scientists believe that Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, is one of the most likely places in our solar system for alien life to exist. Join the intrepid crew of the Europa I as they journey to Europa to begin the search for life within our solar system!
The Europa I
Built in 2030, the Europa I represents the cutting edge of space ship design. Designed to carry a crew of four to Europa, the ship contains everything needed to get to Europa in approximately three months. Once there, the ship transforms into a fully functional space station complete with recreational areas and all the scientific equipment needed to start the search for life.
The ship is propelled at this amazing speed (using todays technology it would take three years to reach Europa) by the three plasma engines situated at the back of the ship. Eight smaller booster rockets allow the Europa I to take-off and land vertically.
As well as the pilot’s cockpit used to fly to Europa, the main body of the ship contains the living and work area for the crew. Bunk beds at the back of the cabin allow the two off-duty members of the crew to get their vital sleep, while a small galley provides their all-important meals.
A desk allows the team to plan their mission priorities, while the two navigational screens assist in finding the best to land once they arrive. A satellite dish on top of the main cabin allows the team to communicate with Mission Control back on Earth.
Once the crew have safely landed on Europa, it is time to set up the base. Contained within the Europa I are four ‘pods’ and a number of interconnecting corridors:
- Mining Pod
- Garage Pod
- Laboratory Pod
- Recreation Pod
The station connects to the main ship (via an airlock) so the crew can continue to use the main living area. This connection is also important as the station will rely on solar power, provided by the two folding solar panels on top of the ship.
The most likely place to find life on Europa will be in the huge underground ocean. The fold-out drilling rig is therefore a key piece of equipment for the crew.
Although the crew are unlikely to find life on the surface, they have also been tasked to collect samples from the surface for further study. The garage pod contains a small surface vehicle, along with all the tools needed to maintain it. This allows the crew to venture far and wide over the moons surface.
The lab pod is where the mission scientists will be able to analyse the samples collected by drilling and exploring the surface
After the cramped quarters aboard the ship on the journey to Europa, the Rec pod gives the crew a bit of extra space to unwind when off duty. Crew members can relax with books, play chess or keep themselves in shape using the multi gym. The latter is hugely important considering the lower gravity on Europa.
The idea behind this model was to tell the whole story of the mission from take-off, through the journey to Europa, and finally to the exploration of the moon. Because of this the model is designed to contain everything required within the structure of the ship. The model consists of these primary sections:
- The Europa I Space Ship
- Four Station ‘Pods’
- Five Interlocking Corridor Sections
The four pods slot into the ship, two to a side, and the corridor sections slot into the ‘spine’ of the ship. Both the mining drill and the surface vehicle fit into their respective pods. The solar panel assembly on the ship swings up to allow all the parts to be slotted into the ship.
The model is approximately 55cm long, 32cm wide and 17cm long in the ship configuration. In the station configuration the width grows to approximately 95cm, so it’s a fairly big model. Unfortunately, I don’t know how many pieces it uses as I just built it as I went along. I’m sure it could be built with significantly fewer pieces than I used, as I was limited to pieces I had available.
There are some clear improvements I could have made to the model had I had a wider range of pieces. Most obviously it would have been nice to give the pods a bit more of a rounded look, and I’m not completely satisfied with the front of the ship. No doubt the experts at Lego could sort these out quite easily!
The model comes with four minifigs. I’ve designed a mission crest, inspired by the vintage Lego space series. The crest comprises a ship flying across a silhouette of Europa. This image came from the Nasa website, so I’m not sure if there are any copyright issues.
I’ve been a Lego fan for many years, but this is the first time I’ve decided to propose a model to the Ideas website after seeing the amazing designs that have been submitted here. I hope you like the model and I’m keen to receive any feedback.
Hopefully with your support we can get to 10,000 supporters!