Mars is already being explored by the ESA with two spacecraft in orbit and an ambitious rover mission planned for launch next year – but now children can have their own Martian adventures with PLAYMOBIL’s new Mars Expedition!
PLAYMOBIL figures are enjoyed by millions of children around the world, and the range is joined this month by a Mars Expedition set released in cooperation with ESA. The Expedition set contains two PLAYMOBIL ESA astronauts, an ESA-branded Mars rover with a light and sound module, a Mars trike, a drilling station, an ESA research laboratory, a robot and many other extras for exciting Mars missions.
The drill is used to search for minerals in the rocks. If astronauts discover something interesting, they swap the drill attachment for the gripper arm and carefully pick up the object. At the research station, all samples are examined in detail. To cover shorter distances, the astronauts use the maneuverable Mars trike. Rock samples can be stowed in the loading box at the front of the trike. What will the astronauts discover during this expedition?
Missions to Mars have made many exciting discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the planet. ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around Mars since 2003, and was joined by our latest spacecraft, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter in 2016. The ExoMars mission continues with the Rosalind Franklin rover and the Russian Kazachok surface platform, planned for launch in 2022.
The next step is to bring samples to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories. ESA is working with NASA to explore mission concepts for an international Mars Sample Return campaign between 2020 and 2030. Together, these missions will address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars.
“We’re already sending probes and rovers to Mars, but people will eventually go to there, and it will be the children of today who will, one day, set foot on the Red Planet,” said Emmet Fletcher, head of ESA’s Branding and Partnerships Office.
“Developing ESA-themed toys helps children imagine how they would explore this new world. PLAYMOBIL has been creating toys as long as ESA has been exploring space. Their enthusiasm, experience and know-how has been critical in designing this practical, ambitious toy for children across Europe.”
The Mars Expedition set will be available in Europe just in time for Christmas on 17 December via various retailers, Amazon, and PLAYMOBIL shops in UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The price will be 39.99 euros. Unfortunately, it won’t arrive in America until January 1. The sticker price will be $64.99.