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Women Of NASA To Be Immortalized — In Lego Form

The Women of NASA set, submitted by Maia Weinstock, celebrates female NASA pioneers.
The Women of NASA set, submitted by Maia Weinstock, celebrates female NASA pioneers.

Five storied female NASA pioneers will soon grace toy-store shelves, in Lego form.

The Danish company announced on Tuesday that it would produce the Women of NASA set, submitted by science writer Maia Weinstock.

"Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program," Weinstock wrote in her project proposal. "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."

She said the set is meant to shed light on the rich history of women in STEM professions.

It beat out eleven other projects in the Lego Ideas competition, which each had to receive votes from 10,000 supporters to be eligible.

A Lego figure of mathematician and space scientist Katherine Johnson, whose story was featured in the recent film <em>Hidden Figures</em>.
/ Maia Weinstock
A Lego figure of mathematician and space scientist Katherine Johnson, whose story was featured in the recent film <em>Hidden Figures</em>.

The set features Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose story was featured in the recent film Hidden Figures. Johnson, who is now 98 years old, appeared on stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday. She was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Other NASA women honored in Lego form are:

  • Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work that contributed to Apollo 11's landing on the moon.
  • Astronaut Sally Ride , the first U.S. woman in space.
  • Nancy Grace Roman, who served as NASA's chief astronomer and is seen as "instrumental in making the Hubble Space Telescope a reality."
  • Astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.
  • "Excited to be part of such a great group of women," Jemison tweeted after the announcement, "And even more jazzed about women in STEM!"

    <em></em>NASA astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison will be featured in the new Lego set.
    / Maia Weinstock
    <em></em>NASA astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison will be featured in the new Lego set.

    Lego says it is particularly excited about the "inspirational value" of the set. It is still determining the final product design – the photos accompanying this story were part of the proposal submitted by Weinstock.

    "I hope it sets a new example for both girls and boys," Weinstock told the BBC. "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."

    A Lego spokesperson says Women of NASA is slated for launch later this year. Other projects that were vying for Lego production included depictions of the Addams Family Mansion and the Large Hadron Collider.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Corrected: March 2, 2017 at 12:00 AM EST
    A previous photo caption on this story mistakenly reversed the identities on the Lego figurines of astronaut Mae Jemison and astronomer Nancy Grace Roman.