In August 2014 LEGO released the Research Institute, a set of female scientists, which included designs that were submitted to the LEGO Ideas contest by geochemist Dr. Ellen Kooijam. The response was overwhelming, and the set sold out, several times.
Since then, we’ve seen the company include other women in STEM and non-traditional fields in their minifig offerings, and now there’s a chance to add even more. To celebrate the history of women at NASA, a new set has been proposed to LEGO Ideas by Maia Weinstock, an editor, writer, and producer of science and children’s media.
When she isn’t coming up with brilliant LEGO concepts, Maia is the deputy editor at MIT News, the news outlet of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a strong advocate for girls and women, particularly in the areas of science, technology, politics, and athletics, Maia is proposing the Women of NASA set because, “Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program, a.k.a. NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated,” she explains in her pitch.
This proposed set includes five NASA pioneers:
Margaret Hamilton, computer scientist: While working at MIT under contract with NASA in the 1960s, Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software.
Dr. Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur: Trained as a medical doctor, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. After retiring from NASA, Jemison established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.
Dr. Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.
Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist: A longtime NASA researcher, Johnson is best known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.
Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer: One of the first female executives at NASA, Roman is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. She also developed NASA’s astronomy research program.
Included with the desktop frame that displays these five minifigures and their names, the set includes a Hubble Space Telescope and Space Shuttle, as well as information on each of the women and their accomplishments, “in hopes of inspiring future scientists to pursue their passions for space and technology.”
The project needs 10,000 supporters to be considered by the LEGO review board, which will bring the Women of NASA set one step closer to becoming a reality! So let’s get voting…
P.S. If you love this, check out Maia’s two other set concepts… Legal Justice Team celebrating women in law, and Bioneers, featuring biological engineers; biology pioneers