LEGO really needs to get a handle on its measurements

Did you know that the Space Shuttle Discovery flew an incredible 238 kilometres across its 39 missions? That’s what the LEGO Group would have you believe, anyway.

Andrew Webb pointed out on Twitter that the instruction manual for 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery describes the spacecraft as flying ‘238 kilometres’, completing ‘5,830 orbits of Earth’ in the process. Now, we haven’t personally measured the circumference of the planet, but that doesn’t sound entirely right to us.

Some minor Googling tells us that the circumference of the Earth is some 40,000km, while the Discovery actually flew 238,539,663km. Basically, 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery’s instructions left out the ‘million’ between ‘238’ and ‘kilometres’.

The manual’s conversion to imperial units also clues us into that fact, given it states 238 kilometres is equivalent to 149 million miles, so it’s maybe not the biggest deal ever. But if you’re paying £169.99 / $199.99 / €179.99 for a premium LEGO set, it’s fair to expect the info included in the instruction manual would have been properly proofread.

The LEGO Group’s official Twitter account responded to Andrew’s tweet with ‘thanks for letting us know’, so the company is at least aware of the problem. Whether it rectifies it in future editions of 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery remains to be seen – and if that does to come pass, whether the original manual will be worth anything on the aftermarket.

Either way, it’s a solid case for not throwing away your instruction booklets – at least for now.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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