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

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

A NASA American Girl doll hits stores on January 1 with a goal of getting girls to think about going to Mars, all with encouragement from some of the space agency's top women. Luciana Vega is an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut with all the NASA-approved swag to show for it.

The Luciana Vega 2018 Girl of the Year doll is described as a "creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars".

The Luciana collection will be available through American Girl's catalogue, the American Girl website, and at all American Girl retail locations nationwide.

For over 50 years, NASA itself has had many missions to Mars and hopes to finally send astronauts to the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s.

The Luciana doll comes with a nebula-patterned dress and silver iridescent shoes.

"We're proud to introduce fans to American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega - a champion of STEM and a natural-born leader who puts her whole heart into making her dreams a reality", said Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

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. To represent her Space Camp experience, Luciana has a flight suit and space suit, a maker station, a Mars habitat full of science and research essentials, and more STEM-inspired outfits and accessories. And all of her gear got a seal of approval from actual experts who helped to create both Luciana and her backstory.

Nasa astronaut Megan McArthur said that to stimulate our next generation it is necessary to find out new ways to grab their interest in space exploration.

'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'.

American Girl's "Girl of the Year" dolls launched in 2001, and are only available the year they debut.

"Luciana is a role model for today's girls - empowering them to defy stereotypes, embrace risks and failures, and chart their own course in life - whatever the goal", she added.

Are you thrilled that American Girl chose an aspiring astronaut and STEM role model as their 2018 Girl of the Year? "It's all about building girls of strong character". Her books can be purchased both in stores and online.

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