Over the break, I went to see Hidden Figures in the theater. Initially, the film’s leading ladies is what drew me to the movie. As a fan of these actors and wanting to support diverse storytelling in the Hollywood, I plucked down my $14. Plus, I love period piece. I left the movie with two thoughts run through my mind.
- Holy shit! There were WOMEN that worked at NASA!
- There were BLACK women that worked at NASA!
I couldn’t quite get over it. Then I got really sad and angry for few days. What kills me really is that I was surprised. Every time I discover these hidden histories (no pun intended), my own feelings of astonishment at the presence of women and POC in the historical narrative annoys the hell out of me and that makes me really uncomfortable. But I ultimately end up being curious when the annoyance, angry and astonishment pass. I wanted to know more.
In the vein of wanting more, I discovered another NASA scientist. Meet:
Thomas worked at NASA during the 80s as data analyst, then managed the “Landsat” project, image processing used to transmit space images from a satellite until 1995. While she was most famous for her work with the Illusion Transmitter (basically it’s early 3D technology) she also designed programs to research Halley’s comet and ozone holes.
Ha! Climate change is real!