A Barbie doll version of an Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is seen during a zero-gravity flight with members of the European Space Agency in an unknown location.
A Barbie doll version of Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has jetted off on a zero-gravity flight with the aim of inspiring young girls to consider a career in space and science, technology, maths, and engineering (STEM).
Marking the Oct. 4-10 World Space Week, which this year celebrates women in space, toymaker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) has teamed up with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Cristoforetti, who is currently in training for her next mission to the International Space Station next April.
As part of the project, Cristoforetti's lookalike doll mirrored the preparation an astronaut needs to do before heading off to space, by traveling and floating on a zero-gravity flight from an ESA base in Germany.
"The mini Samantha doll has already been on a parabolic flight so she already has some experience with weightlessness," Cristoforetti, 44, said in a video statement.
"I really hope that by showing that we can create some excitement for especially young girls ... maybe ... those images will kindle a sparkle of passion in some girl's heart and that would be incredible."
As part of the project, Barbie is sharing educational resources on space on its website, and proceeds from the new Samantha Cristoforetti Barbie doll, previously a one-of-a-kind toy, will be donated to the Women In Aerospace organization towards a Ph.D. student bursary.
Source: Reuters / Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian Editing by Gareth Jones
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