NASA let’s the Women Drive

Posted By Pamela on Feb 29, 2008 | 6 comments

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.


  1. As a woman scientist, I’m proud. But I’d have given this blog a different title without the “lets”. Maybe “All female team directs the Mars Rovers”.

  2. good advice in this video = please don’t flame it’s all in jest

  3. I’ve long assumed that most of the people in some of the space mission operations centers were Women. My assumption was based on purely anecdotal evidence. When I was an Astronomy undergrad many moons ago, most of my classes and conferences had more Women than Men. I had assumed that if most of them went on to grad school, the field would have a pretty good representation of Women.

  4. Thanks for that, Alex, that link led to some pretty funny stuff. The episode “Harry Enfield – Television Programme: Animals” made me laugh so hard I’m having trouble typing! Monkey stains on your ceiling indeed!

  5. There are 2 new DIY test kits…one lets you test air, surfaces and water for MRSA/VRE…the lab that tests the sample emails you a report about what it found…and finally the technology used by NASA in the Space Station to keep its air clean and free of MRSA is available for home use…the other kit uses Petri Dishes to test indoor air for germs, virus, mold, etc. which is good for asthmatics and allergy sufferers…I guess you could say it’s good for anyone who breathes.

  6. What a pleasure to meet someone who tnhiks so clearly


  1. Women Control Mars Rover and the Internet | Tangled Up in Blue Guy - [...] Emily Lakdawalla talks about the Mars Rover and the day that the women grabbed the keys. (h/t to Star…

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