Words of inspiration from an Astronomer and MIT Professor who chased Pluto, Richard Binzel.

New Horizons: NASA’s mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. We all know and agree that Space is the final frontier. As part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, for studying Pluto and to know more about the evolution of our Solar System, the New Horizons team launched this space probe which carried sensors, imagers and spectrometers, all that is required to map the characteristics of Pluto and send them to the Earth. With 16  propellant thrusters, powered by hydrazine stored in a titanium tank, the probe successfully flew by Pluto, sent back some gorgeous images like the one below and is still travelling beyond into the Kuiper belt (about 6 billion km, farthest ever point a human-made object is from Earth). Pluto and Charon dance around the Sun and they still haven’t even completed one revolution yet! To know more about the mission, click here.

Pluto and Charon, photographed by New Horizons (Source: NASA)

We had an MIT professor and astronomer at Auburn University for an invited seminar and he delivered a wonderful talk on “Pluto Revealed! Latest Results from NASA’s New Horizons Mission.” Yes, I know what you are thinking. It is just another talk from an eminent scientist, and I agree. But read on to know why it mattered to me the most!

He also included in his talk about what makes this New Horizons team special. Over 25% of the team is comprised of women scientists and engineers! Its the highest ever in any  NASA team. To read more on the significance of this, click here.

Prof. Binzel and members of the team reacting to the first ever pictures of Pluto (Source: NASA)
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Prof. Binzel at Auburn University

Quoting the team as an example, he looked at the women (albeit, few) in the gallery and said this,

There is a place for you too out there!

– Prof. Richard Binzel, MIT. 

And that was something I really wanted to hear from someone. So I am writing this with renewed energy and saying this to any woman with dreams and aspirations reading this, You belong here, you have a purpose, this is your world and you are not alone! Cheers.


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