LEGO’s new Women of NASA set is Amazon’s best-selling toy, announced CNN. In a mere 24 hours from its release, according to Popular Mechanics, the Women of NASA toys jumped to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list and quickly sold out. Don’t worry. They’re still available through the LEGO Store’s website, and LEGO will be making more. This will probably be one of the most popular toys this Christmas.
The Women of NASA set includes:
- Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, ST:TNG guest star
- Margaret Hamilton, software engineer
- Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, professor
- Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer, former chief of NASA’s Astronomy and Relativity Programs
In addition to the four mini-figs, the Women of NASA set consists of 231 pieces of building blocks which assemble to form three dioramas: the Hubble Space Telescope for Nancy G. Roman, the space shuttle for Mae Jemison and Sally Ride, and books and a blackboard with calculations for Margaret Hamilton. The space shuttle has three removable rocket stages. There is also a booklet with building instructions, plus information about the four featured Women of NASA, the set’s creator Maia Weinstock, and the LEGO designers.
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) November 1, 2017
Who’s Behind It?
The LEGO Women of NASA set was designed by Maia Weinstock, the deputy editor of MIT News. She hoped the set would encourage interest in STEM classes and careers for girls and boys.
Any product that lets girls see themselves in careers like this is important for children of all genders. It provides girls an added boost in thinking that they can pursue a career such as mathematics or engineering, especially because traditionally girls have not been encouraged to be a part of these and other technical fields. It also shows boys that girls and women belong in these areas and have been contributing important works to them throughout history.
Credit for the set must also be given to young Charlotte Benjamin, who wrote LEGO in 2014 complaining of the lack of interesting LEGO sets for girls.
7yo Charlotte writes an adorable and strongly worded letter to LEGO regarding the lack of adventures for girls. pic.twitter.com/JblNKzCwJs
— SocImages (@SocImages) January 28, 2014
SCIFI.radio must apologize for an error in our previous article on LEGO’s Women of NASA set. March 2 we said:
Any fannish parent knows the difficulty of finding female SF or superheroine action figures. We all remember #WheresRey, #WheresGamora, #WheresBlackWidow, etc. However, with the LEGO Women of NASA set, LEGO seems to be taking a giant step forward for diversity. We won’t have to ask #WheresKatherineJohnson.
Unfortunately, we do have to ask: “Where’s Katherine Johnson?”
The original plan for Women of NASA called for five mini-figs. When the set was released November 1, it only had four women. Katherine Johnson, the mathematician whose story was told in Hidden Figures, was missing. Dr. Johnson was awarded the Medal of Freedom and a presidential kiss in 2015, but she was not included in the LEGO Women of NASA set as planned. Gizmodo reported that LEGO was unable to obtain permission from the 99-year-old Dr. Johnson to use her likeness.
At a time when many Americans don’t believe in climate change and find the notion of evolution offensive, it is a genuine pleasure to see a science-based toy selling so well. If you’re doing holiday shopping for the young people in your life, the LEGO Women of NASA set, combined with Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition (recommended for ages 8-12) or You Should Meet Katherine Johnson (recommended for ages 6-8) will delight your youngsters and encourage their imaginations.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.