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12 Apr, 2023
1 min time to read

Makenzie Lystrup, the newly appointed director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, made history by taking an unconventional oath of office.

Instead of using a Bible, Lystrup took her oath on a copy of Carl Sagan's book "Pale Blue Dot," becoming the first person to be sworn in on a book by Sagan.

"Pale Blue Dot" is a 1994 book by the astronomer inspired by the famous Pale Blue Dot photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe. Lystrup, who is the first woman to be appointed as the director of Goddard, said she was humbled and honored to lead such an amazing and diverse team.

“Makenzie is a natural leader, bringing to Goddard a scientist’s drive for discovery along with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge,” said the space agency’s administrator Bill Nelson.

The Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Maryland, is responsible for the oversight and execution of a $4bn portfolio and is home to the largest concentration of scientists, engineers, and technologists dedicated to Earth and space science in the United States.

Prior to joining NASA, Lystrup was the vice president and general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace, where she led contributions to several missions, including NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, IXPE, Landsat 9, and the Roman Space Telescope.