Pioneering NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson has died at the age of 101.
NASA announced the unfortunate news in a statement on Monday on Twitter. They wrote, “NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson.”
They further wrote, “Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space.”
“Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon and before that made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars. Her Presidential Medal of Freedom was a well-deserved recognition.” the statement continued.
Adding further: “At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her. We will continue building on her legacy and work tirelessly to increase opportunities for everyone who has something to contribute toward the ongoing work of raising the bar of human potential.”
Johnson was also portrayed in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Taraji P. Henson played the role of Katherine Johnson. The actress also paid tribute to Johnson on Instagram. She wrote, “Thank you QUEEN #KatherineJohnson for sharing your intelligence, poise, grace and beauty with the world! Because of your hard work little girls EVERYWHERE can dream as big as the MOON!!! Your legacy will live on FORVER AND EVER!!! You ran so we could fly!!!”
Further adding, “I will forever be honored to have been apart of bringing your story to life. You/your story was hidden and thank GOD you are #hiddennomore. God bless your beautiful family. I am so honored to have sat and broke bread with you all. My thoughts and prayers are with you! #RIHKatherineJohnson #representationmatters.”
Furthermore, in 1961, she helped on the first mission that helped put American’s into space. Then in 1962, Johnson verified computer calculations that plotted John Glenn’s earth orbits.
For her pioneering work, in 2015 President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor for a civilian.
Rest in peace!
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