PoSSUM 13 Creates STEM Opportunities for Young Women

Thirteen female citizen-scientist astronaut candidates are honoring the legacy of the Mercury 13 and serving as mentors for young women, in support SDG 4: Quality Education, and SDG 5: Gender Equality.

These thirteen women, the PoSSUM 13, have launched an International Microgravity Flight Challenge, wherein student female-led groups aged 13-17 compete for parabolic flight payload experiments launched from the Canadian National Research Council in Ottawa.

In the first year of this challenge, three experiments were selected through an iterative competitive process. The female-led student team finalists received mentoring from scientists and PoSSUM 13 ambassadors regarding microgravity science, parabolic flights, payload fabrication, and flight readiness requirements.

This PoSSUM 13 initiative was presented at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress in Washington DC, with further details, including strategies for reaching underrepresented communities of students through science and education, and pathways to making careers in space and space exploration more accessible, linked in the presentation and conference proceedings below.