Mercury XIII

A tribute to women in Astronomy

Although women were the first astronomers in prehistoric times, when they calculated menstrual cycles with the moon and harvests through stellar observation, the history of modern astronomy (like history in general) has not had much consideration for the female gender, even though they have always participated as much or more than men in its development.

Analog collage serie 5/5, signed and numbered.

Originals photos from books and Vogue magazines.

Original and printed edition available.

Mercury 13 was a secret, privately funded programme to put the first female astronaut into space.

Thirteen pioneering women in the field of aviation were selected to undergo the same physical and psychological tests that the men in the Mercury 7 programme had been subjected to.

The objective was to prove with these tests that women could also endure them and ultimately become astronauts just like men.

The participants not only passed the tests but, in some cases, surpassed the records set by the men. But it was not enough for NASA, which aborted the programme and did not believe that women deserved to go into space.

There are explicit ways of discouraging, excluding or even preventing women from accessing scientific careers. In the past, even in developed countries, it was practically impossible for a woman astronomer to look through a professional telescope.

Less than 30 percent of all researchers in the world are women. What’s more, only 17 women have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry or Medicine since Marie Curie won it in 1903. In the same period, 572 men received the award.

But not only are there few women, but those who are, often face difficulties and discrimination. The difference is even more marked when it comes to positions of power and making decisions. But women are steadily making steps forward, overcoming myths and prejudices.

“Equality is as elusive as dark matter”

Vera Rubin