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Earth Celebrates New Horizons’ MOM, Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman

Mars Pluto needs MOMs!

New Horizons’ historic Pluto Flyby isn’t just setting a precedent for space exploration—it’s also bringing unprecedented attention to the women who work to make advances in space exploration possible.

Following her NASA TV appearance yesterday, Alice Bowman, the Applied Physics Laboratory’s first-ever female MOM (Mission Operations Manager), began trending on Twitter.

Bowman, who has said that her love of space was inspired by “the folks I admired on Star Trek and Lost in Space,” is one of a relatively large team of women that helped make New Horizons’ historic mission successful.

Women make up 25% of the New Horizons’ flyby team (still a relatively low percentile, but encouraging in context of the major gender disparities in STEM fields overall). Even more encouragingly, it’s Bowman and her female co-workers who seem to be receiving a large majority of popular acclaim for the successful mission.

As deputy project scientist Leslie Young explained to NASA, this small increase of women working in space exploration will hopefully help make gender less relevant in STEM jobs: “Girls will be inspired to be scientists and boys will grow up to be ‘gender blind,’ seeing women in science as the norm.”

Ladies of the New Horizons flyby team.

(via The BBC, image via NASA)

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