This Proposed Lego Set Honors Women In NASA

More than 40 American women have flown in space, and many others have worked at NASA as cosmonauts, analysts, researchers and engineers. Yet when most people think about the U.S. space program, it’s the names of men that tend to first come to mind: Buzz and Neil, Carl and Alan, Gus and Jim.

But one female science writer is trying to change that with the help of a handful of figurines.

Maia Weinstock, deputy editor of MIT News and a self-described “Lego tinkerer,” has proposed a new Lego set celebrating the women of NASA.

The set would come with five figurines representing five notable NASA pioneers: Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Nancy Grace Roman, Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. 

Maia Weinstock
A science writer has proposed this new Lego set celebrating the women of NASA.

Hamilton was a computer scientist who developed onboard flight software for the Apollo mission, and Johnson was a mathematician who worked on the Mercury and Apollo programs. According to NASA, Johnson’s calculations were “critical” to the success of the Apollo moon landing program.  

Maia Weinstock
Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist.

Maia Weinstock
Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton.

Roman was an astronomer and one of the first female executives at NASA. Known as the “Mother of Hubble,” she was one of the masterminds behind the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Ride and Jemison were both astronauts. Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. About a decade later, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space.

“I think it’s so vitally important that all people in this world are involved in the process of discovery,” Jemison once said.

Maia Weinstock
Lego versions ofSally Ride (left) and Mae Jemison.

“Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program … yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” Weinstock wrote in her Lego Ideas proposal.

Lego Ideas encourages people to suggest new Lego sets to the company. If a project hits 10,000 supporters, the proposed set is sent for official review.

Weinstock’s proposal had garnered about 3,000 supporters as of Monday morning. NASA itself has shown its support:

In recent years, Lego has been adding more female characters in scientific fields to its collection. In 2013, for instance, it released its first female lab scientist minifigure. Last year, new spaceport sets included female aerospace engineers and female astronauts. 

Still, based on Lego Ideas proposals, it seems consumer interest in female STEM figurines remains high. In addition to the Women in NASA set, there are currently also proposals for an Amelia Earhart set, a Girls in STEM set and a number of other science-related sets featuring female characters.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-in-nasa-lego-set_us_5795d108e4b0d3568f83b0b1?section=

Technorati Tags: , , ,