Blue Dot 175: Hidden Figures Icon Katherine Johnson Tribute And A Pale Blue Dot Remastering

Mar 13, 2020

Pale Blue Dot
Credit NASA

In this episode, we look back in space and time to examine the life of an extraordinary pioneer of the space race and literally our place in space -- the pale blue dot image. First Dave talks to Clayton Turner, the Director of the Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia as we examine the life of the late Katherine Johnson. 


Made famous in the book and movie, Hidden Figures, Johnson's mathematical computations paved the way to put the first Americans into space including Alan Shepard and John Glenn and the lunar missions of the Apollo Program. Johnson passed away on February 24 at the age of 101. We also visit with Katrina Young, a NASA Public Relations specialist who got to know Johnson well during her many return visits to Langley.

In the second half of the show, the Pale Blue Dot image has gotten a high tech makeover and we talk to two of the scientists intimately involved with it. 


Candice Hansen is an original member of the Voyager imaging team who had Voyager 1 turn its cameras back on the solar system for a family portrait of the planets on Valentine's Day of 1990; Kevin Gill is a software engineer who specializes in image processing who gave the original picture a high tech remastering that is truly stunning and inspirational!