May 2, 2019
What good is looking back? Fifty years ago, one of the key people behind the Apollo Moon missions was a computer scientist named Margaret Hamilton. Like many young people in those days, I was all about becoming an astronaut and going to the Moon. While the early astronauts were all men, not everyone involved was, as proved all too well in the movie Hidden Figures. Until that movie, I had no idea who programmed the computers that made the mission possible—and I read everything I could in the Space Race days of the 1960s. Why did I not know that story? It was a different time—no Internet, only three major television networks, and people of color and women were often excluded from the frontlines of many parts of society. Our view of the world was far more restricted than it is today. I suspect most of our readers have a hard time imagining a past where such boundaries existed or, more likely, why some still exist even if laws removed them long ago.