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More women on New Horizons team than any other NASA project

The triumph of the New Horizons mission, that flew within about 12,000 kilometres of Pluto last week, was the result of teamwork of not only the mission’s 200 participants of today, but the thousands of scientists and engineers who have contributed to the mission since it began more than a decade ago.

And, according to The Atlantic, more women than any other NASA project in women.

The magazine says that women made up about one-quarter of the flyby team.

The “dramatic change” in the number of women on the team has not passed without notice.

“I distinctly remember on more than one occasion, when I’ve been the only woman in the room, people thought I was the secretary,” Kimberly Ennico, an astrophysicist who builds and calibrates space instruments on the New Horizons mission, told The Atlantic. “It got to the point that there were some times in which people would ask me to take notes and I would have to say, ‘I take notes for me, not for you.’”

She described what a new more gender-balanced mission control felt like.

“To be in a room full of more women than men or equal number of women and men? First of all, it feels normal, which is wonderful. Whenever it was only one woman in the room or two it always felt awkward.”

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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