Astronomer Nancy Roman, also known as the mother of Hubble, has passed away at the age of 93.
Nancy was NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy. One of her most significant projects was the development of the Hubble Telescope. She was also involved in building space observatories and various satellites. And as much as she wanted to be involved in research, Nancy knew that creating a program that might influence astronomy more than any discovery she made seemed much more critical. She loved research, but the advancement of astronomy came first.
It was no easy task to convince the American Congress to fund such a colossal and expensive project. To this day, the Hubble telescope represents one of the most expensive scientific instruments ever made.
And she did not even get the chance to see her pet project finalized before she retired. The 1.5-billion-dollar telescope was deployed from the Discovery shuttle in 1990. That was exactly seven years after Nancy retired.
The great thing about the Hubble Space Telescope is that it orbits high above the atmosphere of Earth, and because of that it is not affected by clouds, rain or light pollution. This means that it provides a crystal-clear view of the universe.
Roman was also responsible for the COBE project. The Cosmic Background Explorer was able to map out the radiation that was left over after the Big Bang occurred.
All of this is even more fascinating when you take into account the fact that she was discouraged continuously from chasing a career and even an education in science. But her effort was not for nothing. She became the first woman ever to hold an executive position at NASA. Her reach extends so far that she even has her own set of Lego bricks as a part of Lego’s Women of NASA set, which also includs mathematician Katherine Johnson and astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jamison.
Her legacy won’t soon be forgotten.