The American Girl company has been to colonial Williamsburg, the Midwestern frontier, and 1960s Detroit. Now, the latest addition to their lineup of strong girl characters dreams of going where no American Girl doll has gone before: outer space. As ABC News reports, American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year is Luciana Vega, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut.
The new character was developed with help from experts at NASA. Astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, former NASA chief scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan, NASA’s manager of strategic alliances Maureen O'Brien, and CEO of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Dr. Deborah Barnhart were instrumental in making Luciana’s accessories and scientific ambitions believable.
“American Girl was very attentive to the technical and engineering details of Luciana,” Dr. Deborah Barnhart said in a behind-the-scenes video. “It was far beyond just creating a product”
The story of Luciana, an American girl of Chilean descent, begins when she receives a scholarship to attend space camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Her goal is to become the first person to travel to Mars, and her three-book series follows her as she builds the STEM foundation necessary to realize her dream.
“I’m convinced that Luciana’s stories will convince girls to maybe think, I could work for NASA, I could become a scientist, I could become a planetary geologist some day,” Dr. Ellen Stofan said in the video.
The full Luciana line, which includes her books, space camp accessories, toy Mars habitat, and 18-inch doll is now available in stores, online, and through the American Girl catalog.
[h/t ABC News]