By Mark Buesing from PolarTREC Journal 2013 ::
My sister wrote and asked ‘Where are all the women scientists?’ And she’s right to ask. The simple fact is that there aren’t enough. Below is my interview with Operation IceBridge project manager Christy Hansen. She is the lone female flying with the science team right now. There are lots of female scientists and engineers at NASA, but there probably aren’t enough. And that’s not unique to NASA by any means.
Christy Hansen – Operation IceBridge Project Manager dressed in an EVA space suit. Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA.
Studies show that for girls who lose interest in science, it generally happens between ages 10-12. Once lost, those interests are rarely reignited. While those girls, obviously, go on to other careers, it bothers me that the science door closes as early as it does for some young women. As the father of a daughter, that bothers me even more. I want her to keep every door open for as long as possible.
Christy worked training astronauts at Johnson Space Center in Houston before joining NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and OIB. Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA.
Christy is an incredibly dynamic, bright, and personable woman. She holds a master’s degree in space studies, and is responsible for keeping the entire Operation IceBridge project running. She’s the conductor of an dizzyingly complex symphony of airborne science. She’s also exactly the kind of role model needed for young women to follow. I hope my own daughter turns out like Christy.
Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA
Christy Hansen was a diver in high school — it probably helped with this zero-g maneuver on-board NASA’s KC-135 ‘vomit comet.’