The Lego Group just announced it’s going to develop a series of Lego mini-figures completely different and never seen before by any generation. For the first time, the Danish company decided to commercialize its mini-toys using faces of four celebrated and impressive NASA women. Starting on holidays and for the rest of the days, these ladies are going to stay immortalized in an iconic toy set, which many already consider important pieces of collection.
These women are known for their contribution not only to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration but also to science and space technology. This is why Lego will begin to sell the “Women of NASA” collection on Oct. 28 in New York, and Nov. 1 globally — according to a spokesperson in a conference held on Wednesday.
The four most important pieces are the Lego versions of astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, the astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, and the computer scientists Margaret Hamilton. However, the 231-pieces set will also let people build little models of the Hubble space telescope and a space shuttle — settings included due to the correlation between the female scientists and their marks on space history.
This idea became a reality after Maia Weinstock, a fan, deputy news editor, and writer for MIT News proposed to turn the first NASA workers into mini-figures in the US space agency’s 60-year history. The idea gained 10,000 votes on LEGO’s ideas website just in the first two weeks. The company loved it so much that it confirmed the production on February, and Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges started working with Weinstock to design and recreate the four female space pioneers in Lego toys.
Now, the dream-become-true will be available on holidays for people over the age of 10, retailing at $24.99.
“Great for role playing space exploration missions,” Lego said this Wednesday in a press release. “Explore the professions of some of the groundbreaking women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with the Lego Ideas Women of NASA set.”
This idea was inspired by Theodore Melfi’s Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, based on three African-American, female NASA scientists, who worked very hard to make men scientists and fellow colleagues appreciate their labor in the space agency.
The fan first mentioned Katharine Johnson — the mathematician whose calculations made the Mercury and Apollo missions possible, and one of the subjects of the movie. But Lego couldn’t obtain Johnson’s approval to be turned into a LEGO figure, a spokesperson from the company said.
The four immortalized women in the “Women of NASA” collection are not the same from the film.
First female NASA scientists made LEGO
Starting with the astronomer, Dr. Nancy Grace Roman was the first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, and also the first woman considered smart enough and capable to fill the executive position at the space agency. She did an impressive work on the planning and developing of many programs, including the Cosmic Background Explorer and the Hubble Space Telescope — which gave her the name of “Mother of Hubble.”
Dr. Roman joined the US space agency in 1959, a few years after she received her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949. She managed the Astronomical Data Center until she finished her NASA career at Goddard Space Flight Center, in 1979.
Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly into space on June 18, 1983. She liked sports and wrote books for kids and older students explaining space. She worked at a space shuttle mission controlling the robotic arm, which she used to help put satellites into space. In 2003, Ride reached the Astronaut Hall of Fame to commemorate her hard work. She died on July 23, 2012.
Dr. Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama on October 17, 1956, but moved to Chicago, Illinois, at the age of three. There, she developed herself as a great student by entering to college when she was sixteen and obtaining two degrees.
A great jazz dancer, theater enthusiast, photographer and ski-player, Dr. Mae Jemison became an astronaut in 1987 and had her first flight on the Space Shuttle in 1992. She is considered the first African-American woman to fly into space. However, she resigned from NASA in 1993.
Finally, the female American computer scientist, Margaret Heafield Hamilton, director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed the Apollo space program’s onboard software.
Hamilton worked on the Apollo mission, in which humans reached the Moon for the first time. With her team, she ensured the safety of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. On November 22, 2016, Hamilton was awarded by former US President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom due to her work on that mission.