Minifigs of the Roman god Jupiter, his sister Juno and the Italian astronomer Galileo (milled from aluminum) will accompany the Juno space probe on the Atlas V rocket when it begins its journey to Jupiter this Friday. From GeekDad:
This (until now) secret installation was initiated by NASA scientists, who love Lego as much as anyone and wanted to do something memorable for this mission. They approached Lego and the company loved the idea. It saw the project as a way to promote children’s education and STEM programs.
The brick company even underwrote the project, at a cost of $5,000 for each of the minifigs, which will soon become the farthest flying toys ever. The manufacture of the figures was a deliberate process to ensure the figures would not interfere with NASA’s sensitive measurements.
Each figure has been customized to represent his or her special characteristics. Jupiter carries a lightning bolt, Juno has a magnifying glass to represent her search for truth, Galileo is carrying a telescope and a model of the planet Jupiter.
You can track the progress of Juno and its minifig companions at LEGOspace.