Inspirational women, Science Spotlight

The Untold Story of the New Horizons Mission Team

13 July, 2015

The Women Working on the New Horizons Mission.
Front from left to right: Amy Shira Teitel, Cindy Conrad, Sarah Hamilton, Allisa Earle, Leslie Young, Melissa Jones, Katie Bechtold, Becca Sepan, Kelsi Singer, Amanda Zangari, Coralie Jackman, Helen Hart. Standing, from left to right: Fran Bagenal, Ann Harch, Jillian Redfern, Tiffany Finley, Heather Elliot, Nicole Martin, Yanping Guo, Cathy Olkin, Valerie Mallder, Rayna Tedford, Silvia Protopapa, Martha Kusterer, Kim Ennico, Ann Verbiscer, Bonnie Buratti, Sarah Bucior, Veronica Bray, Emma Birath, Carly Howett, Alice Bowman. Not pictured: Priya Dharmavaram, Sarah Flanigan, Debi Rose, Sheila Zurvalec, Adriana Ocampo, Jo-Anne Kierzkowski. [NASA]

Tomorrow (July 14) at 7:49 am EDT we see a dwarf planet up-close for the first time, but behind this historic achievement is a team of brilliant, hard-working women. The New Horizons mission will fly-by Pluto tomorrow after travelling through the Solar System for over 9 years, allowing the world to learn about this icy dwarf planet during it’s 30,800 miles per hour (49,600 kilometers per hour) flyby. However the story that most people will not hear is of the mission team, with the flight team comprised by 25% women, potentially making it the NASA mission with highest number of women staffers, including many scientists and engineers. These women have dedicated their careers and years of their lives to this mission, to gain unique data from the seven instruments aboard New Horizons and gain an unprecedented insight into Pluto and it’s largest moon, Charon, in particular. The team are working to learn about their composition and the potential thin atmosphere that’s shared between them.

Alice Bowman, New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM), On Console [Twitter]

Moreover Alice Bowman, New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM) and group supervisor of the Space Department’s Space Mission Operations Group, made history as the first female Mission Operations Manager (MOM) at  Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). When reading about the novel scientific discoveries gained by the instruments aboard New Horizons this week, make sure to remember the dedication of the women behind the mission.

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