Lego has announced that the Mars Rover Curiosity will become the Danish company's next user-designed Cuusoo set to reach store shelves. The company's Cuusoo program allows anyone to submit an idea for a Lego set that could make it to production. After having been among a small group of sets to receive at least 10,000 votes – the minimum required – in the 2012 Fall Review on the Lego Cuusoo site, the Mars Rover Curiosity then survived an exhaustive review process, which not all sets do (sorry, UCS Sandcrawler), before receiving final approval from the company. While it got the nod, pricing and availability is yet to be determined as the set continues being developed for mass production. Scroll down to watch Lego make the announcement on video.
The Mars Rover Curiosity Lego set actually has an interesting back story. Its designer, listed as Perijove on the set's official Cuusoo page, is a mechanical engineer who worked on the real Mars Rover Curiosity at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which means his recreation of the rover is highly accurate, not only in how it looks, but also in the details and all of its moving parts. Perijove states that the purpose of his model is "to continue the educational outreach for this incredible mission." The timing couldn't have been better, as the set became popular on the Lego Cuusoo site in late Summer 2012 when the real Curiosity rover touched down and began rolling around on the surface of Mars.
The last set to make it all of the way through Lego's Cuusoo program was the Lego Back to the Future DeLorean, which received approval for production last December. Other autos-related Cuusoo sets that received 10,000+ votes and are scheduled for production review include an incredibly detailed Land Rover Defender 110 and minifig-scale Batman Tumblr.