In case you haven’t heard it from Phil enough times, Emily Lakdawalla is one of the coolest bloggers out there. Her blog touches on all things planetary and when some thing is not quit right or clear with an image, Emily will download the raw mission images and put them together and explain what we’re seeing with the authority of an image junkie with a strong science background. She does all this while raising a cute little kid and finding the time to participate in the astronomy community on neat projects like the International Year of Astronomy. Emily is a great role model for anyone thinking of balancing family and career (so are Fraser and Phil – they are two dads to little kids who have both abandoned me in Skype to play with little ones and I totally respect them both all the more for it).

Anyway, all fan chicking aside,  Emily has some really good insights on the status of women in some NASA and planetary science programs and today she posted a great blog post about how the Mars Rovers tactical operations center has often, by accident, been almost entirely filled with women, and on Feb 22 the puppet masters orchestrated a day of women running the show.

While this is exceedingly cool, it is also a bittersweet moment for women in science. We shouldn’t have days orchestrated to be all women. And the reasons (go read Emily’s story) that so many women have these jobs leaves me a bit sad (basically the powerhouse men decided they had better things to do, and young women could fill in). I dream of the day when powerhouse women lead a project.

Interestingly, the IYA New Media working group is majority women (and yes, Emily is part of it.) More on the IYA New Media stuff tomorrow.