LEGO City Mars Mission, what if stickers would be digital?

Mars Mission. Product development of the LEGO® City Space range with NASA and National Geographic KIDS

In 2018 with the NASA announced a crewed expedition to land in Mars by 2030 (the time when 2018 kids will be adults) and the proximity of the Perseverance mission, these facts inspired LEGO® designers to create the Mars Mission, a new range within the LEGO® City portfolio with the goal to spark children’s interest in science, space, and the future plans of NASA to explore Mars.

The design team at LEGO® City created an amazing range of products for each step of the expedition to Mars, from the Launch Control Center to the Mars landing. The sets aim to roleplay the inspiration material from NASA, astronauts training, rocket launch process, life in space and Mars exploration, while learning along the way about science and technology.

At some point the designers in the City team wondered, “what if the stickers in the panels of the space control center would be digital?”. This is how I started my collaboration in the project, to explore how that physical and digital interaction would work.
For the first time a LEGO® set was designed to host a mobile phone inside as a component with digital features to enhance the physical play.

LEGO City Explorers app was launched, a specific app developed with the purpose to provide the inspirational content curated from NASA archives to inspire storytelling and interaction activities to trigger the physical play. The phone vibration capabilities where used to simulate launch-induced vibrations NASA engineers experiment during the launch countdown.

As part of the campaign release, National Geographic and Nat Geo Kids joined forces with LEGO® to create Blast Off, a series of content about scientific facts of astronaut’s life in space, and the passion for space exploration, additional LEGO City Space sites were created to support the campaing, like this one

LEGO City Mars Mission won the TOTY (Toy Of The Year) award, the most prestigious award in the toy industry. TOTY are announced during the NYC Toy Fair and this set won it in the category of Best Construction Toy of 2020, it was first time a set of LEGO City was honored with a TOTY award.

Company. LEGO® System A/S
Product: THE LEGO® CITY Space Mission to Mars
Team: LEGO® CITY Team