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Not-so-hidden figures — Lego’s ‘Women of NASA’ set blasts off

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Lego’s new “Women of NASA” set, featuring four pivotal pivotal figures from the history of America’s space program, will be available for purchase starting November 1 for $25. The new set was suggested by science writer Maia Weinstock and quickly gained an internet following, with Lego announcing in March that it had approved the project and would produce the set.

NASA Lego SetThe set features astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, who helped create the Hubble telescope; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who developed software for the Apollo program in the ’60s; astronaut and physicist Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; and astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. The original set sugestion by Weinstock also included mathematician Katherine Johnson, who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures. Unfortunately, she was not part of the final set, as Lego requires approval to use anyone’s likeness and there was some sort of “hiccup” in the negotiations with Johnson and her family, according to TechCrunch.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The three builds included were designed by Lego’s Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges, and the attention to detail is remarkable. There’s a Space Shuttle for the two astronauts with removable rocket stages. Sally Ride’s nameplate even reads “Sally,” just as she requested in real life. There’s a poseable Hubble telescope for Roman, and the background for Hamilton recreates the iconic NASA photo of her at MIT in 1969 standing next to the printout of the code used for the Apollo missions.

Last year, Weinstock and her 10,000 supporters  first reached the critical vote mark on the Lego Ideas website, which allows fans to post and vote on new project ideas. Projects that surpass the 10,000-vote mark are eligible for review by the Danish toy company to determine if they are suitable to become an official set. A few months later, Lego has announced that the set celebrating the contributions of women to the space agency would indeed be developed.

“A big congratulations to 20tauri on becoming the next official Lego Ideas fan designer!” the company announced. “As a science editor and writer, with a strong personal interest for space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering, Maia Weinstock’s Women of NASA project was a way for her to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions … We’re really excited to be able to introduce Maia’s Women of NASA set for its inspirational value as well as build and play experience.”

Weinstock created the minifig set to honor these women, most of whom “are unknown and under-appreciated.” She hopes this project will make the public aware of their contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She made waves with the proposed set, attracting the attention of NASA, the United Nations, and singer Pharrell Williams, who shared the minifig project on Twitter. “Whether or not the project is ultimately produced, I’d love for it to help others become more aware of key scientific and engineering accomplishments made by women,” Weinstock said to Collectspace.

Update: Added details about the set, plus pricing and release date.

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Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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