Hooray For Lego’s NASA Scientists

5 influential women scientists are now immortalised in Lego
5 influential women scientists are now immortalised in Lego

Firmly eschewing any pink and glitter, Lego has launched a new gender stereotype-defying set of characters.

The set honours five women who have been instrumental to the US space programme and was created by science communicator Maia Weinstock. It took first prize at the biannual Lego Ideas crowdsourcing competition last week.

Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton is one of the women featuring in the set. She assisted with the hazardous lunar landing of Apollo 11, which saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men on the moon in 1969.

Aldrin has, of course, been immortalised for a younger generation by Pixar’s Toy Story movies but now Hamilton is too.

The other women included in the women of NASA set are:

  • space scientist and mathematician Katherine Johnson, who, aged 98, made an appearance at the 2017 Oscars Ceremony on Sunday, having been depicted as one of a group of black NASA scientists in the nominated film Hidden Figures
  • the late Sally Ride, who became the first woman in space in 1983. She was hailed by former president Barack Obama as a powerful role model, who inspired generations of young girls to “reach for the stars”
  • astronaut, engineer and medical doctor Mae Jemison, who became the first black woman in space in 1992
  • and NASA’s first female executive Nancy Grace Roman, known for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope

“Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the US space program… yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated. I hope it sets a new example for both girls and boys,” says Weinstock.

“Girls, in that they can and should be engineers, scientists and mathematicians, and boys, in that they internalise at an early age that these careers are for everyone, not only men.”

Weinstock’s design had to receive over 10,000 public votes to be considered for the Lego Ideas competition.

NASA showed its approval by posting on its Hubble Twitter account that the set would be available by late 2017 or early 2018.

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