March Monthly Gathering — Fly Me to the Moon? The Story of NASA’s First Lady Astronauts

Until the weather becomes more predictably amenable to meeting in person, Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures on Zoom. Attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: .

In 1961, NASA invited the nation’s best female pilots to a medical facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they were subjected to physical exams unlike any they had ever experienced before. The tests were intense, both physically and psychologically, and were designed to determine if these women had “the right stuff” to fly in space. NASA had also just administered these tests to a select group of men, of whom seven were destined to be forever known as “the Mercury 7”. Now commonly known as “the Mercury 13”, this class of First Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs) included twins, a senator’s wife, and a few mothers. Would they fly in space too…and, if so, when??? 

Dr. Nicolle Zellner, our speaker this month, is a professor of physics at Albion College. Nicolle’s research interests focus on understanding the impact history of the Earth-Moon system and how those impacts affected the conditions for life on Earth. 

Dr. Zellner was a member of the 2006 Antarctic Search for Meteorites team and collected over 800 specimens. Before Albion she was a post-doctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and she was a member of the scientific ground crew during NASA’s STS-67 Astro-2 mission of the Space Shuttle “Endeavour” in 1995. 

Nicolle completed her undergraduate degree, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her PhD is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her work has earned several prestigious awards, including the Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public communication.

Dr. Zellner has been published in over 50 Scientific Publications. She’s presented at more than 100 Conferences, and participated in up to 150 public outreach activities, and you can follow her on Twitter at @astrodiva.

Sound interesting? You can blast off with us on Saturday, March 19 to learn more about America’s first female astronauts. The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm. Please remember that all attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: .