New NASA web site features women's contributions to NASA's Microgravity Research Program

March 20, 2000

A new NASA Web site features women who are making history with their contributions to NASA's Microgravity Research Program, managed at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Women with diverse expertise, from all parts of the United States and abroad, are profiled on the site. To learn about the exciting and often inspiring accomplishments and lives of these women -- as well as their advice to young women -- go to:

Women are helping to forge the relatively new field of microgravity science - the study of many important natural processes in the near-weightless environment of spacecraft orbiting Earth. Women profiled on the Web site play many roles in microgravity research. They range from astronauts who design experiments and conduct them in space -- to scientists who have made ground-breaking discoveries -- to engineers who are designing major facilities for the International Space Station, the first permanent, international space laboratory.

The featured women include Marshall Center Deputy Director Carolyn S. Griner, who helps manage the Center's myriad activities. She started her career with pioneering studies in modeling metals and exploring the best way to conduct a variety of experiments at the same time inside space-based laboratories.

"When I was 15 years old, I witnessed John Glenn's first launch into space from my high school yard in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and I knew where I wanted to apply my love of science and math," said Griner.

Another woman profiled on the site, Dr. Karen McDonald Moore, a biochemist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells young women, "Dream! Your opportunities are unlimited, so reach for the sky in every aspect of your life."

Moore has served as lead scientist for more than 25 biotechnology experiments aboard the Space Shuttle. She is enjoying watching her two daughters launch their science careers as a pediatrician and a veterinarian.

"I can still remember watching Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the Moon, and thinking to myself - wow, someday I'd love to do something with NASA. And here I am," said Dr. Jeanne L. Becker, a medical scientist who does NASA-funded research at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She uses NASA cell culture devices to provide new insights into human breast and ovarian cancer. This program is led by NASA's Biotechnology Cell Science Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Sandra L. Olson has made discoveries about how flames spread in microgravity, spurring NASA to change fire safety practices on spacecraft. "The best part of my job as a researcher is the thrill of discovering new phenomena unique to microgravity," said Olson, an engineer who works on combustion experiments with NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Marshall Center scientist Dr. Sharon Cobb is working on a project that brings people together from several countries designing and building equipment for materials science experiments on the International Space Station. "It is fascinating for me to explore the effects of gravity on the processing of materials we use in our everyday lives," said Cobb.

Cobb and the other women featured on the site work at or with the Marshall Center - NASA's Lead Center for Microgravity Research and Space Product Development. Scientists and engineers at Marshall manage and develop experiments and equipment for materials science and biotechnology research. Marshall also oversees research programs in combustion science and fluid physics at NASA's Glenn Research Center, as well as cell culture and tissue research at the Johnson Space Center and fundamental physics research at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Note to Editors/News Directors: Interviews with women profiled on the site are available to media representatives by contacting Steve Roy of the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. For an electronic version of this release, digital images or more information, visit Marshall's News Center on the Web at:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

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