Nancy Grace Roman, a former NASA executive, has died at 93 on 25th December. Laura Verreau, Roman’s cousin, confirmed the news that Roman passed away after a prolonged illness. Researchers call her “Mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope. Additionally, she was the first woman to hold an executive position at the space agency. In school days, she loved to draw the moon. She was fond of the moon in the sky and stars. We can say that she had qualities to become a stargazer. Finally, her passion for becoming a stargazer prospered into a career. She completed her doctorate in astronomy at the University of Chicago in 1949.
After that, in 1959, Roman joined NASA as its first Chief of Astronomy at Headquarters. She joined the space agency soon after the agency’s establishment in 1958. Roman was the first to gain an opportunity to develop a pivotal department from the very beginning. Before her, Lyman Spitzer, a former astronomer, scratched an idea to create space-based telescope in 1946. But in those days, the proposal delayed due to high-budget and lack of technology. While she started to work on the project and played a crucial role in making of the Hubble Space Telescope. She also involved in foundational programs of the space agency including Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). Bob Zimmerman, a science historian, says she made it possible to get early telescopes into space.
Roman struggled to earn the position in a men-dominated sector, flooring the way for future female scientists. She is remembered for her hard work to boost career opportunities for women. She worked with the American Association of University for Women. According to NASA, Roman is a winner of the Women in Aerospace’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She also got the honor of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award, and the NASA Outstanding Scientific Leadership Award. In 2017, Lego published a set of statues in respect of four pioneering women of NASA. One of the four was Roman. According to her statement to Science Magazine, Roman felt very happy. Roman said that she ignored the saying of many people who said she could not be an astronomer. She finished her NASA career in 1979. After retiring from the space agency, she worked as a contractor at Goddard.
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