NASA said it is collaborating with American Girl, a doll and book company, to inspire children to dream big and reach for the stars. The focus of the collaboration is the “Girl of the Year” doll for 2018, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut named Luciana who wants to be the first person to put boots on Mars, the US space agency said on Thursday. “It is so important to find exciting new ways to inspire our next generation of space explorers,” said NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. “I always want to encourage girls and boys to pursue their dreams, no matter how big, and I think it helps to show how those dreams can become reality for any kid,” McArthur said. The doll is set to go on sale from January 1, 2018. The US space agency said it partnered with the company to share the excitement of space with the public, and in particular, inspire young girls to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). NASA provided the company subject matter experts for their advisory board, provided input for an upcoming book series.
To ensure authenticity and adherence to agency graphic and media usage standards, it also reviewed merchandise as it was developed for the STEM-inspired character. In addition to technical advice, NASA said it provided imagery and content for a new American Girl app and educational website aimed at offering children space simulations, educational quizzes, challenges, and more.