All posts in: Current Projects

Women of NASA Lego Kit! You Can Make It A Reality! Vote Today!



Ladies rock outer space!

Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program, a.k.a. NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 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).

This proposed set celebrates five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM. The five Women of NASA are:

Margaret Hamilton, computer scientist: While working at MIT under contract with NASA in the 1960s, Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software.

Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist: A longtime NASA researcher, Johnson is best known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.

Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.

Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer: One of the first female executives at NASA, Roman is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. She also developed NASA’s astronomy research program.

Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur: Trained as a medical doctor, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. After retiring from NASA, Jemison established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.

In addition to a desktop frame that displays these five minifigures and their names, the set includes vignettes depicting: a famous photo of the reams of code that landed astronauts on the moon in 1969; instruments used to calculate and verify trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions; a microscale Hubble Space Telescope and display; and a mini space shuttle, complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.

Thanks in advance for your support! For updates and shareable images, follow here on Lego Ideas and at:

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Maia Weinstock (@20tauri) | Twitter, Instagram, Flickr

P.S. If you like this set, you may also enjoy my other Ideas proposals: Legal Justice Team, celebrating women in law | The Bioneers, celebrating women in biological engineering.



Virtual Human

Virtual Human Crucible

Virtual Human

First Transdisciplinary Think Tank on “Virtual Human” Held in Graz, Austria
100 Year Starship® (100YSS) recently hosted its first Crucible™ on “Virtual Human” in Graz, Austria. An invitation-only session, Crucible: Virtual Human examined the major challenges to achieving and maintaining human vitality during months-to-years long deep space travel and identified new concepts for a fully autonomous approach to optimizing health care, rendering treatment and recognizing and addressing unexpected threats and opportunities.

The Crucible: Virtual Human marked the launch of 100YSS’s new Crucible series — intense transdisciplinary think tanks that bring together global experts from varied fields in supportive, resource-rich, and singularly-focused environments to advance the knowledge, technological capabilities and societal systems required for human interstellar travel.

100YSS is the independent, long-term global initiative led by former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison to ensure the capabilities for human travel beyond our solar system exist within the next 100 years and the advances are applied to enhance life here on Earth every step of the way.

“The sojourn to another star is an incredibly audacious and immensely valuable pursuit to the people on Earth, but it is not an easy one,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, Principal, 100 Year Starship. “With the Crucibles, we want to eliminate the ‘miracle happens here’ conundrums inherent to human interstellar travel and focus on the resultant technologies and insights that can and will enhance life here on Earth.”

The weeklong Crucible: Virtual Human participants included individual scientists, physicians, engineers, software designers, clinicians, and/or researchers with deep expertise in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, biomechanics, pathophysiology of key diseases, pharmacology, neurobiology, robotic surgery, tissue culture, nutrition, data compression, graphics, bioinformatics, data modeling, human-brain interfaces, artificial intelligence, social sciences, space medicine, psychiatry, exercise physiology, behavior and clinical trials.

They hailed from Austria’s Academy of Sciences, Space Science Institute, the University of Klagenfort, Institute of Process and Particle Engineering, the Graz University of Technology and Medical University of Graz; Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, the German Aerospace Center and the German Cancer Research Institute; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Italy’s University of Florence; UK’s Mexeler Technologies; France’s University of Savoie Mont-Blanc; and, the United States’ National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, International Space Elevator Consortium, Hololens/Microsoft, Molecular Sciences Institute, Stanford University, Rutgers University and Nature Magazine.

Held in a secluded, private castle in the picturesque countryside of Styria, Austria, Jemison led the think tank, encouraging participants to define specific aspects critical to the robust functioning of human health and physiology modeling.

Discussions focused on achieving and maintaining human vitality during deep space travel and the challenges and rewards of disruptive innovation in healthcare. Participants also took deep dives into the areas of biomechanics, microbiomes, testbeds for therapeutics, platforming for modeling organ interactions, environment interactions, and psychological and cognitive functions. Surgery, manufacturing, development of biotech and pharmaceuticals were also addressed.

Capping the event, participants presented the ideas that emerged at the Space Research Institute at the Austrian Academy of Sciences to an audience of Austrian Academy of Sciences members, special guests, students and interstellar enthusiasts.

Each Crucible will result in a white paper that describes viable new disciplines, outlines potential robust research and development projects, and provides realistic actionable and accountable next steps required to help propel radical leaps in technology, innovation and human systems.

Crucible: Virtual Human was organized and sponsored by 100YSS, its 100YSS@EU Hub and partners Graz University of Technology and Medical University of Graz, MEFOgraz , Das Land Steiermark, ÖAW, Institut für Weltraumforschung and STADT Graz.

Future Crucibles are currently in the planning stages and will be announced in the near future.


100 Year Starship®


100YSS logo Vertical Transparent - Lt background100 Year Starship® (100YSS) is an independent, non-governmental, long-term initiative to ensure the capabilities for human interstellar flight exist as soon as possible, and definitely within the next 100 years. 100YSS was started in 2012 with seed-funding through a competitive grant from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for the purpose of fostering the type of explosive innovation and technology and social advances born from addressing such an incredible challenge.

To foster such innovation, 100YSS engages in collaborative international programs and projects in research and innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capacity building, entrepreneurship and education projects with and between organizations, companies, universities and individuals. Current initiatives includes annual international public symposiums and published proceedings, the Crucible™ series, the annual Canopus Award™ for Excellence in Interstellar Writing, The 100 Year Starship True Book series for elementary school students, and the creation of a community college-based advanced aerospace manufacturing center degree program in California.

Based in Houston, TX, 100YSS recently opened a hub in Brussels, 100YSS@EU, and is in the process of developing hubs in Africa and Asia. 100YSS is part of the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence. For more information, visit

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Twitter: @100YSS