The iconic doll Barbie will look to the heavens as an astrophysicist and astronaut this year in an effort by toy-maker Mattel to inspire young girls into STEM fields.
Since Barbie first launched in 1959, encouraging girls to dream big has always been a goal of the company, a Mattel representative told Space.com here at Toy Fair 2019. With Barbie’s 60th birthday coming up in 2019, the brand wanted to recreate several of the doll’s most successful careers, including an iconic astronaut design.
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Barbie has a long history of exploring the cosmos, having first donned a spacesuit more than 50 years ago. [Barbie in Space: A Photo History]
“Barbie took her first spacewalk in 1965 and has been shooting for the stars ever since,”reads the back of the new Barbie’s packaging. The first astronaut Barbie was named “Miss Astronaut.” The doll was redesigned in 1985, 1994, 1998, and 2016, with her spacesuit changing in each incarnation— sometimes not-so-realistic, like the ’80s doll who wore a pink and silver mini-skirt spacesuit with sparkly tights, and sometimes more realistic like when Mattel collaborated with NASA on a Mars Explorer doll in 2013. More recently, Mattel has released an Astronaut and Space Scientist in a two-pack.