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California’s Mojave Desert has been the setting for a number of stories about phenomena from space. On July 18, 2019, it was the site of a phenomenal tribute to one of the remarkable women who made space travel possible: Margaret Hamilton, 82, credited with inventing the term “software engineer.” In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Google positioned 107,000 mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Facility to reflect the moonlight and reveal Hamilton’s portrait.
The moonlit display was big enough to fit more than 200 Eiffel Towers.
According to CNN:
“The artwork, at more than 1.4 square miles wide, is larger than New York’s Central Park, Google says. It was staged on the grounds of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the world’s largest solar thermal power plant.”
“From my own perspective, the software experience itself (designing it, developing it, evolving it, watching it perform and learning from it for future systems) was at least as exciting as the events surrounding the mission. There was no second chance. We knew that. We took our work seriously, many of us beginning this journey while still in our 20s,” said Hamilton.“Coming up with solutions and new ideas was an adventure. Dedication and commitment were a given. Mutual respect was across the board. Because software was a mystery, a black box, upper management gave us total freedom and trust. We had to find a way, and we did. Looking back, we were the luckiest people in the world; there was no choice but to be pioneers.”
“Here, Margaret is shown standing beside listings of the software developed by her and the team she was in charge of, the LM [lunar module] and CM [command module] on-board flight software team.”
Margaret Hamilton, along with amazing women like “human computer” Katherine Johnson and other black female pioneers, made the Moon landing a reality. They not only pioneered journeys into space but also pioneered the way for womens’ equality, a goal we are closer to today thanks to their determination and unparalleled excellence.
See the Margaret Hamilton by Moonlight project below from Google: