Five pioneering females from NASA will soon be immortalized by Lego.
The Danish toy manufacturing company is developing a set of figurines of women who have made significant contributions to NASA's space program. Titled "Women of NASA," this concept was submitted by science writer and editor Maia Weinstock, and won the Lego Ideas competition.
Weinstock's entry in the Lego competition received 10,000 votes, which was what was needed in order for Lego to consider manufacturing it. Weinstock's idea beat out 11 other concepts, which included the Addams Family Mansion, the Large Hadron Collider, The Little House on the Prairie, a Lego Lamborghini, and a Star Wars Landspeeder.
The Women Of NASA
The five women who will be featured in the Lego toy collection are Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman, and Mae Jemison.
Margaret Hamilton is a computer scientist who developed the software used in Apollo missions. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. Katherine Johnson is a groundbreaking mathematician who calculated trajectories for NASA missions. Johnson also served as an inspiration for the movie Hidden Figures, where her character was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson.
Nancy Grace Roman is an astronomer and is known as the "Mother of Hubble" because of her work on the said telescope. Sally Ride is the first American woman in space, while Mae Jemison is the first African American woman.
STEM Is For Everybody
According to Weinstock, the idea behind her entry is to set an example "for both girls and boys. Girls, in that they can and should be engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, and boys, in that they internalize at an early age that these careers are for everyone, not only men."
The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions are often traditionally dominated by men. A Congress bill says that only 26 percent of women who have degrees in STEM fields work within these industries.
The up-and-coming Lego figures would be a refreshing way to make the STEM profession more attractive to young women. Weinstock also hopes that the toys will be a way for women to get more recognition because "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."
Lego is now in the process of finalizing the figurines' design. There is no definite date yet as to when the toy set will be released, but the company expects it to launch either in late 2017 or early 2018.
Photo: Maia Weinstock | Flickr