Dr. Valerie Thomas: The scientist
March 2, 2022
A Black professional who deserves to be disscued more is Dr. Valerie Thomas. She is an aerospace scientist and inventor who made several revolutionary contributions to the field of aerospace for NASA. In 1964, she was hired as a data analyst and by 1970 she began work on a project called Landsat that was launched in 1972. Landsat or Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) as it was primarily called, was the first satellite that observed Earth and studied landmasses.
Thomas managed the processing of Landsat’s images and wrote a book on how to process them because other scientists were having issues with it. She worked on the Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment (LACIE) project which was to see if Landsat’s images of test sites of wheat fields could be identified so that they could research wheat yield around the world. In 1980, she received a patent for her invention, the illusion transmitter. NASA still uses this device to produce three-dimensional images of the Earth today. Thomas’ hard work and dedication towards education brought her to where she is today.