Occasionally, we run across cool stories that we just have to share and this is one of those times. You could imagine the day in the life of an astronaut living on the International Space Station. Between the space walks, recording important space data and making sure the whole thing doesn't crash, there's probably a little downtime for the crew that doesn't involve fixing a space toilet.
For Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, he spent two hours of his downtime building a replica of the ISS out of LEGOs.
It was a great opportunity for me to have built the LEGO space station. I enjoyed building it.
The ISS was put together in space, piece by piece. It's very similar to how you put together LEGO bricks on Earth.
The model, coming in at two feet long, was part of LEGO's partnership with NASA to expose children to the educational side of space.
Furukawa then took his creation and made several videos for young students, explaining things from living in space to the work done while aboard the ISS. While working on a LEGO model could be a challenging task, the astronaut also considered the activity to be fun and is now known as the "LEGO guy" with his colleagues. Putting the whole project together, though, was not such an easy accomplishment while floating in space.
There was actually some learning curve to that, believe it or not. LEGOs are an example of something that is a lot of fun on the ground but it can be very frustrating when you have a lot of loose floating pieces.
To solve this, he worked in a sealed box that allowed his hands to reach into gloves that were mounted into the box so he could build the model completely.
Unfortunately, due to flammability concerns, the completed model could only be exposed to the ISS cabin for two hours before it had to be disassembled in pieces and placed in a secured drawer in the Columbus space module.
However, that wasn't all for Furukawa. When the ISS LEGO model was put away, he then built replicas of the lunar exploration and Mars rovers, the Hubble Space Telescope and a GPS satellite. Hey, it's not like you can play basketball up there or anything.
Photo courtesy of Collect Space