Meet Women Space Scientists in New Free App
Meet current scientists and other women who have contributed to space exploration in the new app Reach Across the Stars: A Universe of Explorers. This free app was released through a collaboration between Smithsonian and NASA. It allows users to virtually discover a new science hero.
Scientists are featured in short "stories" and longer "journeys." The app features more than 35 women, including computer scientist Grace Hopper, mathematician Katherine Johnson, physicist and chemist Marie Curie, and astronauts Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. More stories and journeys will be released in coming months.
The app allows you to journey to Mars in 3D with Ellen Stofan, the John and Adrienne Mars director of our National Air and Space Museum. Ask Stofan questions to hear about her hardest professional moment, her favorite rock, and when she thinks humans will be able to travel to Mars.
Stofan is excited to be part of an app that shares women's history in space exploration. She said, "I've been inspired on my path by learning the stories of the women like Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride who blazed trails and showed me a universe of possibilities."
In another journey, you can listen to the stars with computer scientist and astronomer Wanda Diaz. Diaz, who lost her sight as a young adult, found a way to continue her research. She converts data from stars, and other cosmic objects, into sound. By listening to their data, Diaz and other astronomers can uncover previously hidden patterns.
You can also bring NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory—that is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Massachusetts—into your home with astronaut and chemist Cady Coleman. Coleman was the mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia that launched the X-ray telescope into space.
Kimberly Arcand, visualization scientist and emerging technology lead at SAO's Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led the project. Not only is the app all about women, it was created by an all-woman team.
Arcand acknowledges the women in the app are just the tip of the iceberg. "We can't feature all of the women who have contributed significantly to our exploration of space over time," said Arcand. "But we can shine a spotlight on some and that's an important place to start."
Reach Across the Stars can be used on most tablets and smart phones. The app is available for free and can be downloaded in major app stores. Learn more.
This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative, Because of Her Story.
Image from Reach Across the Stars app. Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.