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NASA Renames Washington Headquarter Street Block “Hidden Figures Way” in Honor of Black Women

Less than 11% of the 500-plus people who have traveled to space have been women, said NASA

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FILE - Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film "Hidden Figures," poses in the press room at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 26, 2017. VOA

NASA renamed the street block in front of its Washington D.C. headquarters “Hidden Figures Way” on Wednesday in honor of black women who have contributed to the U.S. space program. The work of three black mathematicians – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the 1960s race to the moon was captured in the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures.”

“When little girls and little boys come to see NASA, they’re going to look up and see that sign,” said Senator Ted Cruz, who cosponsored a bill to rename the block, at a ceremony where officials unveiled the new street signs.

“This sign is a powerful testament that anyone who is telling a little girl or a little boy ‘You can’t do something,’ is not telling the truth.” Less than 11% of the 500-plus people who have traveled to space have been women, said NASA.

nasa, hidden figures way, black women
Less than 11% of the 500-plus people who have traveled to space have been women, said NASA. VOA

July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk by NASA astronauts, one of 11 flights in the Apollo space program of the 1960s and 70s, named after the Greek sun god. NASA announced in May that it plans to land Americans back on the moon by 2024 with the Artemis initiative, named after Apollo’s twin sister who was goddess of the hunt and the moon.

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For the first time, a female astronaut will walk on the surface of the moon, NASA said. Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book “Hidden Figures” on which the 2016 film was based, encouraged those attending the ceremony to think beyond Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk to the collective effort it took to achieve the Apollo 11 mission.

“‘Hidden Figures’ is about taking off our blinders and recognizing the contributions of the unseen individuals who were there at the beginning of the story,” she said. “And whose persistence and whose courage delivered us to where we are today.” (VOA)

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NASA Making a ‘Rigorous’ Search for Vikram with Fresh Lunar Pictures

LRO will next fly around the region on November 10 and it will be another good opportunity with favourable lighting conditions for pictures, Petro said

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NASA also plans to build a space outpost in lunar orbit that can relay astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024. VOA

BY ARUL LOUIS

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has taken a fresh set of pictures under better lighting conditions of the area where the Indian moon lander Vikram likely ended up and experts will be making a rigorous search for it, according to LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro.

“The lighting conditions on Monday were much more favourable, (with) less shadow in the region” compared to last month, Petro told IANS on Wednesday.

Scientists were not able to locate the Vikram in the pictures taken during the LRO’s last flyover on September 17, when it was dusk on the moon and the long shadows that covered much of the terrain may be hidden in it, NASA said at that time.

“We flew over the landing site on Monday and the camera team is still evaluating images, so we should know more in the next few days,” Noah said.

Chandrayaan 2, India, Moon
Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious expedition to the moon’s south pole, made headlines globally even as Vikram, the lander of the mission, lost contact with the orbiter. Pixabay

“We will do a careful search, we will be as rigorous as possible” and “we will find out soon” what happened to the Vikram moon lander, said Petro, who is based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland near Washington.

“This is a large area, we don’t know exactly where we have to look. So it will take some time to search the images because we are looking over a very, very large area,” he added.

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Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following its launch from Chandraayan 2 moon orbiter on September 6 and likely landed in an area around the moon’s South Pole.

LRO will next fly around the region on November 10 and it will be another good opportunity with favourable lighting conditions for pictures, Petro said. (IANS)