Growing up toy cars held little interest for me - unless they were from movies or they were replicas of spacecraft. The latest Hot Wheels release would have intrigued me as a kid, and it really excites me as an adult: it's the Mars Curiosity Rover, which is scheduled to land on the red planet on Monday.
The Curiosity is a big guy - twice as long and five times as heavy as the previous Spirit and Opportunity rovers. It's essentially a giant space SUV loaded up with tons of scientific equipment, and the Curiosity is intended to begin scouting for a potential manned mission to Mars. The funding's not there, but NASA is just keeping on as if it were, and I love that. The Curiosity is supposed to work for about one Martian year - about two Earth years - but if previous rovers are any indication the Curiosity could keep going and going.
This toy Curiosity is, of course, much smaller than the real thing. But it's big enough to spark the imagination of a kid who might grow up to be a Mars colonist.
The Curiosity - Mattel's first NASA new exploration related toy since 1999 - should be hitting shelves soon.
Thanks to Vivek for the link.