At approximately 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday morning, NASA’s New Horizons mission zipped past Pluto, coming closer to the dwarf planet than any spacecraft before it. New Horizons will spend 22 hours collecting data, which will in turn provide scientists with their first comprehensive look at Pluto. It’s a landmark moment in scientific history and—happily—one in which women have played an integral part. According to NASA, about 25 percent of members on the so-called “Pluto flyby” team are women. They occupy a range of important roles, including “particles and plasma science team leader,” “mission design leader,” and “encounter planning leader.” Ultimately, though, the women behind the New Horizons mission look forward to the day when conversations about gender and the sciences become irrelevant. “Girls will be inspired to be scientists,” said Deputy project scientist Leslie Young. “And boys will grow up to be ‘gender blind,’ seeing women in science as the norm.”
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