I know I am making a sexist statement, and normally I am not so inclined to point out a person's physical merits over their academic or intellectual merits.
However, I was not the person in charge of holding any of the TV or Print Photo news cameras yesterday when the crew of the next Shuttle Mission landed at Sunny Cape Canaveral.
Obviously, the people who were holding the cameras got an eye full when Dr. Karen Nyberg, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer and University of Texas alumni, stepped out of the cockpit of the NASA jet at the Kennedy Space Center.
"Oh baby, who is that!" (do not insert photo here, so that people will finish the article)
I am not saying all the camera people are sexist either. I am certain they would all tell you that this is very important news story and press conference about America's space program and impending mission; but there nothing better to catch the eye of the camera than the long flowing golden blonde hair of a woman fluttering in the breeze. I am sure Austin Powers would agree.
What I am wondering is if NASA thinking to same thing. Space Shuttle press conferences are as common as spring break tourists in this part of Florida. So much so, they rarely get any significant air time or print space in the local press. However, yesterday's press conference practically shot to the center of the radar screen as Breaking News when Dr. Nyberg, stroking her long blonde hair back, twirled and toss the pony tail behind her shoulders, step off the plane. Of the 30 or so print photos, her very long blonde hair is in about 70% of the shots total, and about 90% of the crew shots. Yes, hair in the face, hair behind the shoulders, in front of the shoulders, hair over one shoulder, pony tail behind the shoulders, pony tail over one shoulder, you get the picture. What I am wondering, is NASA using Dr. Nyberg's long blonde hair to draw more attention to the Shuttle Program? I am sure they would flatly deny that her hair, though an asset to the agency, is not why she was chosen for the mission.
NASA has walked down this path before regarding women and the space program. NASA is quite aware that nothing draws more attention to the program than the inclination of sex in space. Obviously, sex sells, and sexy people get attention. I am just wondering about the timing here, with NASA and their fight for the future of the space agency.