A space Odyssey With Women

Women have been exploring space for centuries now, there’s nothing a woman can not do. Let’s look at a few inspiring women in the field of SPACE

Women have been conquering heights. In the world, and outside of it too. But it all came with significant sacrifices to engrave the story to be told today. When I was watching the Cosmos series by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I was amazed to know how women’s contribution to the space world began. It started with a few physically impaired women who were called the “computers”.

Several years ago, women were not appreciated or approved of, to work in the science field, but scientist Dr Edward Charles Pickering knew women’s contribution could change his entire theory. Slowly the other women started joining and hence started setting remarkable benchmarks for us to look up to today.

It was Annie Jump Cannon whose classification of stars and their spectra changed how the world looked at the stars. She designed it such that it still stands accurate today and is used by every scientific organization. There are many ceilings to break and many firsts to happen, but let’s look into the women who have already shattered the glass ceilings -

Image Courtesy — Google

The First -

The stereotype of only men exploring space was broken in the year 1963 when a Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova went to space and became the first woman in history to do so. Since then, it’s been a wild journey for women in space. Tereshkova was launched on a solo mission aboard the spacecraft Vostok 6. She spent around 70 hours orbiting the Earth. At 24 years, Tereshkova was inducted into the Soviet Air Force. Born in a village called Bolshoye, Tereshkova had a minimal life after her father’s death. She joined the training and nothing has stopped her ever since.

Image Courtesy — Google

Women behind the Mangalyaan -

India had never done interplanetary expeditions. This was the first and it sure had many women as the backbone of this successful Mars mission. Ritu Karidhal, Deputy Operations Director of the Mars mission — also called the ‘Rocket Woman’ of India, was so determined that she took no weekend off during the time. Ritu as a child often read a lot about ISRO and NASA. She cut every corner of the newspaper having details about any mission or spacecraft. She is also a part of Chandrayaan 2, the first female-led mission to the moon!

The next outstanding woman in this mission is Nandini Harinath. For Nandini, it all began when she started learning Physics in her school and was exposed to Star Trek. This sci-fi movie inspired her to work in the space arena and explore the beyond. It has been 20 years since Nandini is working in ISRO and when she saw the Mars space satellite on the INR 2000/ currency note, her happiness knew no bounds. She says “Women are born for science. It is in their blood. They have been creators all along with just one realisation away”. Nandini is an inspiration for several younger scientists.

Image Courtesy — Google

The Spicy Space Pepper -

Megan McArthur was selected as an Astronaut in the year 2000. Megan has served as a Mission Specialist aboard STS — 125, the final space shuttle mission to the Hubble Telescope. On her first space mission, she has logged almost 13 days in space travelling 5,276,000 miles in 197 Earth Orbits! She recently landed Earth after her mission aboard International Space Station (ISS) from April 23, 2021, to November 8, 2021. Megan grew chilli peppers in space and keeps experimenting as an engineer frequently. She also shared her yummy space tacos on Instagram.

Women behind the dark mysteries -

When we think about space, we naturally think about darkness. And amid this darkness lies several secrets of the space. The most intriguing ones are the Black holes, the dark matter and the dark energy. Noone but women has pursued these suits and helped the world to see through the secrets of space. The mysterious blackhole image was generated by Dr Katie Bouman. She is the first woman in history to construct the image of a black hole. The entire world was in awe of the image. Katie Bouman led an entire team of specialised MIT computer scientists.

Image Courtesy — Google

Another remarkable woman who discovered dark matter was Vera Rubin. Her work is based on Galaxy rotation rates, angular motions. While identifying the galaxy rotation problem, she had her first evidence for the existence of dark matter. The results were confirmed by several scientists throughout the decades. What Vera Rubin has discovered is still a mystery to us. Dark matter is something we know the least of, but we know it exists due to her phenomenal contribution to the field of space science.

From the beginning of space exploration, women have been giving significant results and are a part of major discoveries. The unexplored space needs women to come, find it and pour their perspectives on more discoveries yet to happen. From Margaret Hamilton who helped Neil Armstrong land on the moon to all the female AstroScientists today, women have come a long way. So women, go ahead, take the space because the world is already yours!

Read more such inspiring blogs on women here. If you want to be surrounded by a powerful uplifting community to be a woman who sets benchmarks, Fuzia is the right place! We are so excited to know your favourite women astronauts in the comments below.



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