NASA this week released a music video featuring a song from rock songwriter Grace Potter, “Look What We’ve Become,” highlighting the work over the years of female scientists and engineers with the space organization. Front and center in the music video? Caribou native and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.
Meir is a 1995 graduate of Caribou High School, where she was valedictorian. A graduate of Brown University with advanced degrees from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and the International Space University in France, Meir was an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston when she and seven others were picked by NASA in June 2013 to join the space agency’s astronaut corps. Meir has come back to Maine several times to speak to middle schoolers at the University of Maine, to students at the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor, and at her hometown high school, where last year she was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. She has not yet been to space, but her first mission could happen in the next few years.
Meir was initially thrust into the spotlight two weeks ago, when she tweeted out an image of her in a pressurized space suit, undergoing a simulation of various conditions she might encounter while on a space walk.
My first venture >63,000', the space equivalent zone, where water spontaneously boils! Luckily I'm suited! pic.twitter.com/0zB5Ku5Tdy
— Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica) September 9, 2016
Shortly after she posted this tweet, a Twitter user named Casey O’Quin felt the need to explain to the PhD-holding astronaut what exactly the science was behind the extremely selective program in which was enrolled. Twitter immediately attacked the user for “mansplaining” — in which a man feels the need to explain something to a woman as if she were a child, despite her clearly understanding that thing perfectly well. The mansplaining Twitter user deleted his account not long after.
Meir’s mansplaining incident came not long after another Twitter takedown by a female scientist. Astrophysicist Katie Mack sent out a tweet expressing her fear and worry about climate change, which elicited a response from Twitter user Gary P. Jackson. The exchange below is priceless.
@gary4205 I dunno, man, I already went and got a PhD in astrophysics. Seems like more than that would be overkill at this point.
— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) August 16, 2016