Hidden figures no more: Lego honors 'Women of NASA'

NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (centre) and director Ezra Edelman (right) and producer Caroline Waterlow (left), winners of Best Documentary Feature for 'O.J.: Made in America' pose in the press room during the 89th Oscars.
PHOTO: Reuters

Lego sets have long celebrated superheroes like Batman and Superman. But now, the Danish toy maker is honoring real-life heroines - five women pioneers for the US space agency NASA.

The proposal for the set, submitted on Lego's community and ideas page by MIT News editor Maia Weinstock, has been approved, beating out 11 other projects examined by the Lego Review Board.

"Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the US space programme, aka NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration," Weinstock wrote in her proposal.

Lego builds giant brick house in Denmark

  • Danish toymaker Lego is building a play house in its home town designed to look like 21 giant versions of its bricks stacked on top of each other, the company said.
  • The Lego House is due to open in September 2017 near the company's headquarters in Billund, Denmark. -
  • The 12,000 square metre building, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, will include three restaurants, a Lego store, four play areas and a gallery displaying the history of Lego and creations made by fans.
  • "Lego House will be the only one of its kind in the world and it will remain so, because Billund is the home of Lego and this is where we will always be," its general manager, Jesper Vilstrup, told Reuters.

"Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated - especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)," she added.

Lego said it expects the new "Women of NASA" set to be available by the end of the year or in early 2018.

Read also: Lego builds giant brick house in its home town Denmark

"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," the company said in a blog post.

The five women included in the set are: - Astronaut Sally Ride, who became the first American woman in space in 1983 - Astronaut Mae Jemison, who became the first African-American woman in space in 1992 - Astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, nicknamed the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in developing the landmark space telescope - Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo mission - Mathematician Katherine Johnson Johnson is one of three women portrayed in "Hidden Figures," the Oscar-nominated film that tells the little-known story of three female African-American scientists who played a key role in NASA's early space programme.

Read also: Lego creates social networking app for children

The 98-year-old Johnson, portrayed in the movie by Taraji P. Henson, attended the Oscars with the film crew on Sunday and received a standing ovation from the A-list audience.

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