Four of the most incredible and pioneering women of NASA are being celebrated with their very own Lego sets, the toy company has revealed today.
You can build the Hubble Space Telescope with the ‘Mother of Hubble’ Nancy Grace Roman and develop software for space missions with Margaret Hamilton. You can also launch the International Space Station with Sally Ride, the first woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the world’s first woman of colour in space.
“I thought people might like to build their own display featuring minifigures of accomplished women in the STEM professions,” said science writer Maia Weinstock, who came up with the concept. “I wanted to contextualise each person in terms of her contribution to NASA history.”
The project was announced in July 2016, on the Lego ideas website, and received the support of 10,000 people in 15 days.
“I was absolutely elated,” said Weinstock. “The set clearly touched and inspired many. The night on which it appeared we’d reach 10K, I stayed up until 4:30 or 5 in the morning so that I could watch the 10,000th vote come in. I didn’t get much sleep that day, but it was thrilling!”
Now, over a year later, the idea has been made into a reality.
“I was extremely excited about working on this one, especially as I had already heard of it and really wanted it to become a set,” said Lego designer Gemma Anderson. “My focus was on ensuring that the model had stability, the colours were aligned and the subjects were accurately portrayed, all while staying respectful to the design of the original model.”
But the project came with its own challenges.
“The main challenge in designing the minifigures and the decorations was that I could not make anything up,” said designer Marie Sertillanges. “Every detail was important and needed to match reality, since they represent real-life women. It was beautiful to hear some of the stories behind the scenes, like how Sally’s name tag was changed from ‘Sally Ride’ to just ‘Sally’ at her own request.”
The 231-piece set will be on sale on 1 November in the US, with a recommended selling price of $24.99. There are no details of a UK launch yet, but hopefully Lego will give UK space fans an opportunity to buy soon too.