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Spotlight On Mars - Image
A Woman's Place Is... in Space!
March 18, 2008
This is an animated gif consisting of 3 images. Team photo: This photo shows 15 of the women engineers and scientists who work on the Mars Exploration Rover. They are standing behind or kneeling beside a precise replica of the rover in the mission control room. Women in Space photo: This photo shows rover engineer Dina ElDeeb raising her arm and grasping her biceps next to a T-shirt emblazoned with a woman astronaut similarly raising her arm and grasping her biceps above the words 'Women in Space.' The T-shirt also bears the JPL logo (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Rover arm: This image shows the working parts of Spirit's rock abrasion tool turned toward the viewer at the end of the robotic arm, which extends downward from the top frame of the image. On either side of it are the two front wheels of the rover. Extending from the wheels to the horizon is the rocky, sandy surface of Mars.
Large animated gif (4.2 MB)

Nowadays it's not unusual to find a woman at the helm -- leading a corporation, commanding a space shuttle, or even operating a rover on Mars, but it's rare to have a supermajority of women in some technical fields. Thirty women made "herstory" recently when they took charge of operating NASA's Mars rover, Spirit. The all-female team of scientists and engineers planned the event after noticing they were occasionally a supermajority on the rover operations team. They designed an action plan and transmitted all the computer codes for the day's activities, including using the robotic arm to take microscopic images of dust while Spirit was stationed on a slope. Though men still outnumber women in space exploration, the gender mix is changing. Through events like this, women hope to motivate their "sisters" to join them in exploring other worlds.

Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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