Posted by: jeannineatkins | March 26, 2009

Vote for Amelia!

I’m happy NASA is reaching out to get more kids interested in space. All are invited to vote to name the new rover that will be sent to explore the red planet. Just click here by March 29.
NASA teamed with Disney for the contest, and, while the wonderful WALL-E is prominent on the site, I’m sorry to say the results came in as less than creative. As a name for the rover, Amelia is not up against other pilots such as, for instance, Jackie Cochran, the most prize-winning woman pilot, or Shannon Lucid, who’s spent more time in space than any other American, or Anne Lindbergh, maybe the most talented prose-writing pilot, or any male pilots. It’s Amelia versus ho-hum abstract nouns.

I think things were more exciting in the 1990s, when a contest was held to name the first Mars rover, built by a team managed by Donna Shirley at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Twelve-year-old Valerie Ambroise won the contest with her essay on Sojourner Truth, with Marie Curie, Judith Resnick, and Sacajewea as runner-up names.

I wish there were other names, like some of those you’ll find in my book, Wings and Rockets: The Story of Women in Air and Space.

Or Tanya Lee Stone’s new book, Almost Astronauts, which I look forward to reading.

I especially want to get Tanya’s update on Jerrie Cobb, who trained as an astronaut in the early 1960’s before NASA leaders had second thoughts about putting a woman in space. Jerrie made the best of it, spending around thirty years piloting food and medical necessities into villages in South America, but certainly part of her heart was broken. She still dreams of a chance to see the world from outer space. I really wish at least her name was heading toward the stars.



  1. I’m not sure you can even apply the word “thought” to a decision that keeps women out of space, or anywhere. Sheesh. Off to vote for Amelia, for sure!

  2. Isn’t it fun to click and vote! Thanks, Becky!

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