Four pioneering women of NASA have officially landed on Amazon — and they’re selling like hotcakes, at least in LEGO form.
Women of NASA may have gone on sale on Amazon and LEGO’s online store only on Nov. 1, but it’s already one of the best-selling toys. Within 24 hours, it was sold out on Amazon. It also earned four stars out of 31 reviews four days after its official release.
The kit sells at around $25 and contains more than 200 pieces. It features three builds, mini-figurines of four NASA women, and elements that correspond to their contribution to the agency and space development.
Tara Wike, LEGO’s design manager, expressed her delight in manufacturing the mini figurines. She said it was inspiring and hopes it will do the same to children.
To complement the kit, the toy company is launching Breaking Boundaries challenge in its child-friendly social network LEGO Life. The initiative hopes to encourage kids to create their dream job using LEGOs and the four women as role models. They can then share their work in the network.
Meet LEGO’s NASA Women
The four women in LEGO form include Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist and systems engineer who developed the flight software used onboard the Apollo spacecraft. Her build features stack of books, which supposedly contains her source code.
Two women, Mae Jemison and Sally Ride, share the same build featuring a rocket on a launchpad. Ride was a physicist who became the first American woman in space. Jemison, meanwhile, became the first African-American woman to orbit the Earth onboard Endeavour.
Nancy Grace Roman is known as the Mother of Hubble after playing a key role in setting up the famous space telescope. Her LEGO build, therefore, contains an authentic replica of the telescope and a nebula image.
The original concept included Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician with expertise in celestial navigation. Her accurate calculations of launch windows and backup return paths guided astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn in their space missions.
Permission issues prevented the company from adding the Hidden Figures heroine into the collection.
“In order for us to move forward with a partner we need to obtain approval from all key people, which was not possible in this case,” a LEGO representative said.
Fortunately, she may be out of the collection, but the agency named a research facility after her.
From A Woman’s Idea
The new LEGO kit stems from the proposal of Maia Weinstock. She works as a science writer and producer of children’s media. She is also the MIT News deputy editor and an advocate of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
“This proposed set celebrates five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM,” she mentioned in her LEGO Ideas submission.
Her idea went up for a vote and garnered 10,000 votes, besting other entries such as Large Hadron Collider. LEGO announced the decision to manufacture it in March.
Besides the four NASA women, she also designed 14 custom mini figurines for 2016-2017 season of The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, a web series on NOVA’s PBS.
— Maia Weinstock (@20tauri) April 1, 2017