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Mars rover Curiosity to be Hot Wheels toy

Aug. 1, 2012 at 5:01 PM   |   Comments

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Hot Wheels toy maker Mattel, Inc., says it is preparing to release a 1:64 scale version of NASA's Curiosity rover after it lands on Mars Aug. 6.

The Hot Wheels "Mars Rover Curiosity" set is part of Mattel's collection of 247 die-cast toy cars for 2012, SPACE.com reported Wednesday.

The real Curiosity is scheduled to land on Red Planet at 1:31 a.m. EDT Monday after a tense series of maneuvers NASA has described as "seven minutes of terror."

The Hot Wheels version, at an average price of $1.09, will cost considerably less than NASA's $2.5 billion nuclear-powered six-wheeled rover.

Curiosity is the first NASA mission since 1999 to generate a Hot Wheels version, even though NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent two successful rovers to Mars in 2004.

Toy and collectible version of those rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, were released by other toy companies, including LEGO.

The scheduled September release of the Hot Wheels Curiosity will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the real rover's landing attempt, Mattel said.

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