Barbie sent on zero-gravity flight to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers

‘Sometimes little things can plant the seeds of great dreams, who knows?’

Olivia Petter
Monday 04 October 2021 16:19
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Barbie is being sent to space. Yes, really. The iconic fashion doll brand has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch a project designed to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The doll is modelled on the ESA’s only active female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, 44, and has been sent on a zero gravity flight to promote the project.

Beginning on Monday to mark the start of World Space Week, the doll’s journey began at the ESA base in Germany where it then departed to illustrate the life of a real-life astronaut.

The doll is also available to buy, with a portion of the sales being donated to the Women In Aerospace organisation where it will fund a Barbie bursery for a PHD student.

Women in Aerospace is dedicated to increasing the leadership capabilities and visibility of women in the aerospace community.

Cristoforetti, who in addition to being an astronaut is also an aviator and an engineer, is in training to prepare for her next mission to the International Space Station in 2022.

Ms Cristoforetti said: “Sometimes little things can plant the seeds of great dreams, who knows?

Samantha Cristoferetti holding her Barbie doll

“Maybe the fun images of my doll floating in weightlessness will spark children’s imagination and lead them to consider a career in Stem.”

The venture follows on from Barbie launching a doll in the likeness of the scientist who designed the Oxford coronavirus vaccine: Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert.

Professor Gilbert started working on creating a jab in early 2020 when Covid-19 was first reported to be spreading in China.

The doll depicts Professor Gilbert wearing a black trouser suit with a white shirt and glasses.

“My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist,” she said.

For details on how to apply for the Women in Aerospace Europe Outreach Award: The ESA x Barbie Bursary, you can visit: http://www.wia-europe.org.

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