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Women of Space
The International Women's Day, originally called International Working Women's Day, has been celebrated on March 8 for many years with its origin on February 28, 1909 in New York. This being our March and April newsletter, we would like to dedicate this first section mainly to lesser-known "women of space". These women are not as famous as Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya, or Sally Ride, but without their dedication, sacrifices and courage many advances would not have been possible.
A recently published book, "Rise of the Rocket Girls; The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars," chronicles the stories of a group of women in the 1940s and 1950s, when JPL needed expert mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories as well as transform rocket design with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess. They were known as "human computers." Natalia Holt, the author, gives us an account and history of the spaceflight from these women's perspective, the rocket tests of the 40s and the launch of the first American satellite, Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958, and many other firsts in order to explore the solar system. Thanks to this new book, these women (mathematicians, astronomers, engineers) are getting the recognition that their male peers have enjoyed from the very first days of space exploration. They were pioneers socially as well as professionally. One of the best places to learn more about this new book and these dedicated and brilliant individuals is:
Another impressive group of women of space comprises 13 American women who underwent and completed astronaut physiological screening test in 1960. Later, they were dubbed the Mercury 13. After William Lovelace II helped develop the NASA astronaut tests, he was curious to know if women could complete those same tests. The first to undergo the same rigorous challenges was Geraldyn Cobb and she passed all 3 phases successfully. After screening 19 more women, 13 passed the same tests as the astronauts of Mercury 7. Although due to political and social constrains none of these women were ever accepted to the astronaut program, their willingness, courage, and determination made it easier for future female astronauts. Gerladyn Cobb was one of the few who made appeals for years to restart a women's astronaut testing project. The US civil space agency finally selected their first female candidate in Astronaut Group 8 in 1978 and Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. in 2003, Martha Ackmann wrote a book about these 13 remarkable women called "The Mercury 13; The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight." To learn more, please visit:
Of course there are many many more women who have contributed to the fields of Space, Engineering, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Inventions, and more. Some are famous and have several books written about them, such as Hedy Lamarr or Ada Lovelace, and many are underappreciated. Here we have featured these two groups as a small salute to the huge contribution that all women, from all walks of life, have made and continue to make to all the different aspects of humanity.
James Webb Space Telescope
"The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA's next orbiting observatory and the successor to the Hubbles Space Telescope. A tennis court-sized telescope orbiting far beyond Earth's moon, Webb will detect infrared radiation and be capable of seeing in that wavelength as well as Hubble sees in visible light.
Infrared vision is vital to our understanding of the universe. The furthest objects we can detect are seen in infrared light, cooler objects that would otherwise be invisible emit infrared, and infrared light pierces clouds of dust, allowing us to see into their depths. Webb will unleash a torrent of new discoveries, opening the door to a part of the universe that has just begun to take shape under humanity's observations.
Right now, scientist and engineers are piecing Webb together, creating through cutting-edge technology an innovative observatory that not only withstands intense cold, but uses it to its advantage, an observatory that folds up inside a rocket for launch and unfurls like a butterfly opening its wings upon nearing its orbit. Later this decade, the Webb telescope will launch into space, sailing to the distant, isolated orbit where it will begin its quest. Supernovae and black holes, baby galaxies and planets' potential for supporting life -Webb will help reveal the answers to some of the biggest mysteries of astronomy."
For a brief article of more specifics of the Webb and how it is coming together in the next two years, please visit:
To see photos, videos and read the latest updates, please visit:
SpaceX's Martian Falcon & Dragon
At the "Be the Change Herald,"
we follow the new discoveries and advances in science and technology, especially those that are space related. As a result many a time, SpaceX has been featured in our newsletter. (Volumes 11, 22, 44, 45, 49, 59, 68 and 83.)
In this volume, we would like to follow up on SpaceX's Mission to Mars. Elon Musk's companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have been regularly in the news for their innovative technologies. However according to Elon Musk, these are all means to ends. His ultimate goals are to minimize climate change and colonize Mars.
Of course colonizing Mars has been one of the goals and dreams of humankind for some time and NASA for one has been planning toward it. The ambitious part of Musk's goal is not the destination but his timeline. He wants to accomplish this within our lifetimes. In a new tweet, SpaceX has announced what would be the first step toward this goal. They are "planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018."
Falcon Heavy has been designed to be used on space exploration to dispatch manned capsules to the moon and Mars.
"Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system. Red Dragon Mars mission is the first test flight," posted musk on twitter.
To learn more and see pictures, please visit: