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Toys / LEGO Life on Mars

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LEGO Life on Mars was a short-lived LEGO theme from 2001, and a subtheme of LEGO Space. Basically, a small group of human astronauts crash-landed on Mars, discovered Martians, and sat down and observed them for a while. It is unusual among LEGO Space themes for its stronger focus on exploration and discovery over combat; the human astronauts had no interest in conquering the Martians and instead preferred to observe their lives. The only conflict takes place in the online story, where the human astronauts help the friendly Martians deal with a violent rebel faction.

This was the last true LEGO Space theme for several years, until its Spiritual Successor LEGO Mars Mission turned up in 2007. Although both themes share the same Martian setting, unique vacuum pump system, and other similar concepts, Mars Mission does not continue the storyline of Life on Mars and presumably takes place in its own continuity.

Unrelated to the TV show Life On Mars, though that would be awesome in its own right.

LEGO Life on Mars provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Compared to most LEGO Space themes, Life on Mars is closest to modern technology. It certainly helps that it's a Stealth Sequel to the Space Port line, which appears to be set in present day. The timeframe of Arcturus invading Earth 60-70 years prior to the present day storyline suggests that it takes place between 1998 and 2008.
  • All There in the Manual: The majority of the theme's storyline could only be found the website. The LEGO Mania magazine also provided extra information, such as revealing that Cassiopeia is Riegel's daughter.
  • Combining Mecha: A more unconventional example: all sets were designed to be consistently segmented and modular, and all instruction manuals point out that the modular segments are interchangeable between sets. Also, most of the Martians' sets are mecha.
  • Cool Starship: The Solar Explorer, the humans' rocket ship. Not only can it fly from Earth to Mars and back, but it also has a modular system that can convert into a lab and a mini-rocket.
  • Crossover:
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: As it turns out that the events of The War of the Worlds (1938) are real, Arcturus's invasion of Earth was cut short by exposure to germs.
  • Humans Are Special: Defied by Riegel, who seems unconvinced of the intelligence of highly-trained astronauts.
    Riegel: "So you say you are Earthlings? Are you an intelligent species?"
    Mac: "Of course we are! We built a rocket ship and came here, didn't we?"
    Riegel: "You came here, but maybe you didn't build the ship. Maybe you are just test animals. After all, some Martians believe that creatures with - ugh! - hair on their heads must be stupid, since the sun never warms their brains enough."
  • Humongous Mecha: Most of the Martians' vehicles are mecha that tower over any minifigure.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Biodium is a glowing mineral that is crucial for Martian survival, and the canyon rebels are out to seize it.
  • Plot Coupon: Cassiopeia and the astronauts search Mars for three scrolls instructing how to create synthetic Biodium.
  • Power Crystal: The Martians were searching Mars for Biodium, a green type of crystal which creates a breathable atmosphere.
  • Real After All: Remember all the panic that was caused by people who thought that a 1938 radio drama of The War of the Worlds (1938) was a true story? It was. Arcturus was leader of Mars at that time, and he actually did invade Earth and was forced to retreat after being exposed to Earth germs.
  • Shout-Out: Arcturus was leader of the Martians during the 1930s. As it turns out, a certain radio drama in 1938 retelling the events of a Martian invasion of Earth was actually telling the truth.
  • Slice of Life: The LEGO sets, unburdened by the canyon Martian rebels of the online storyline, basically depict daily Martian life.
  • Stealth Sequel:
    • While it's not directly advertised as such, Life on Mars is actually a sequel to the 1999 Space Port sub-theme. BB made his debut as a trainee in the Rocket Rescue book, which even says that he is training for a mission to Mars.
    • LEGO Racers 2 implies that Life on Mars might also be a Stealth Sequel to the LEGO Arctic line, since the game identifies an identical-looking scientist on the Arctic team as "Doc". It's possible that both scientists may be the same character, much like Brains appearing in both LEGO Power Miners and LEGO Atlantis ten years later.
  • Tube Travel: The big gimmick of the Aero Tube Hanger set is a set of tubes and a big hand-operated pump: Martian minifigures can be placed into pods that can be loaded into the tubes, and depending on how the pump is oriented, either sucked or pushed towards either end of the playset (with four possible destinations for the pushing which can be switched between like a train track).