NASA’s Makenzie Lystrup takes the oath on Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’

When Dr. MacKenzie Leistrup was sworn in as the new administrator of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Last week, you took the oath of office not on the Bible or the United States Constitution, but rather on a book revered by space enthusiasts everywhere: Carl Sagan Pale blue dot.

The book, published in 1994, is named after The iconic image of EarthTaken by the Voyager 1 probe, it depicts the planet as a tiny atom smothered by the vacuum of space. That image inspired astronomer Carl Sagan to write: “Look back at that point. This is here. This house. This is us.” For many, the book serves as a reminder of humanity’s place in the universe and the need to preserve our home planet, making it analogous to the newly appointed NASA Administrator’s Bible.

On Thursday, when Lystrup chose to rest her left hand on a copy of Sagan’s book while swearing in before NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the photographer captured the moment, and NASA Goddard’s social media post shared the photo.

The Constitution does not require that public officials take an oath using specific provision, only that they “must be bound by oath or affirmation, to uphold this Constitution.” Most American politicians and officials end up using the Bible.

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But over the years, many officials have improvised while taking the oath. in 2018, Maria Parker She is sworn in as a member of the Athens-Clark County Commissioners with her hand resting on a copy of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. When he was the former US ambassador to Switzerland Susie Levine She was sworn in in 2014, placing her hand on her Kindle. Keith Ellisonthe first Muslim to be elected to Congress, was sworn in in 2007 using the Quran.

Listrup, a planetary scientist like Sagan, has not publicly explained her choice pale blue dot, But Sagan is a respected figure in the space science community for his pioneering contributions to space exploration.

Lystrup would be it The first director of a women’s center From the Goddard Space Flight Center, which includes a main campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, as well as the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Katharine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility in West Virginia, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and the White Sands Complex in New Mexico, and the Columbia Balloon Scientific Facility in Texas.

Goddard is home to the largest concentration of scientists, engineers, and technologists specializing in Earth and space sciences, according to NASA.

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