Women perform calculations
A large supercomputer fills a room
In the early days of the space program, a talented team of women were responsible for the number-crunching necessary for early mission success. Modern calculations are completed by Pleiades, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Credits: NASA

In the early days of space exploration, the best mechanical computers were large (the size of a room) and not particularly powerful. Most calculations for early space missions were done by “human computers.” Most of these human computers were women!

Today, supercomputers have become essential to tracking climate patterns around the globe, designing safer aircraft and spacecraft, and exploring the mysteries of our galaxy.

Learn some of the history of the first "human computers," and apply advanced algebra and physics lessons to solve a space travel problem.

Teach a U.S. history lesson about the effects of "computers" on society.

Use NASA resources to teach computer science and programming.