American Girl's 2018 "Girl of the Year" Is an Aspiring NASA Astronaut

NASA and American Girl team for Luciana an aspiring astronaut

Meet American Girl's 2018 girl of the year: Aspiring astronaut Luciana Vega

The limited edition Luciana Vega doll will only be available in 2018.

American Girl said that to ensure the accuracy of the doll's storyline, an invited advisory board includes Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief scientist; Deborah Barnhart, executive director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; Megan McArthur Behnken, a NASA astronaut, and Maureen O'Brien, manager of strategic alliances at NASA.

Luciana features a full astronaut suit, and she will have other STEM-related accessories for purchase as well.

Luciana has her very own space suit, NASA uniform, and even part of a space station - a girl needs a place to work on those interstellar calculations, after all!

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Rather than just being pretty, American Girl dolls aim to inspire young girls to dream big and think about who they want to become when they grow up.

"Luciana is our first character that's really immersed in STEM", Rebecca Dekuiper, one of American Girl's designers, said in a video documenting the doll's creation.

American Girl got its start in the 1980s by selling historical dolls (shout out to Samantha!) their stories, and time period-appropriate outfits and accessories, but later added contemporary dolls and more modern gear.

In addition, American Girl and Scholastic will host a Mission to Mars Sweepstakes where families can go on a series of weekly missions for a chance to win several prizes, including a grand prize trip to Space Camp valued at over $2,000.

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'I've been in space and fixed the Hubble space telescope, so I have some perspective on how we use robotics, how we train for robotics'.

The 18-inch doll, featuring brown eyes and dark hair, and full product line including "STEM-inspired outfits and accessories" will launch in stores, online and through American Girl's catalog on January 1. Last year, Gabriela McBride, the first African-American Girl of the Year, also debuted on "Good Morning America". The series notably offers a more diverse set of dolls than its OG collection, though unfortunately each doll is only available for one year. They also contributed to an accompanying STEM-based educational program providing space simulations and quizzes in an American Girl app and educational website.

To develop the aspiring astronaut doll, her backstory, and the whole product line, American Girl worked with several professionals from NASA.

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