The message was pretty clear: no girls allowed.
A rejection letter said to be from NASA to an aspiring female astronaut shows just how much times have changed in the last five decades.
“Your offer to go on a space mission is commendable and we are very grateful,” NASA public information director O.B. Lloyd Jr. wrote in the letter, dated Feb. 26, 1962. “This is to advise that we have no existing program concerning women astronauts nor do we contemplate any such plan.”
According to Yahoo! Shine, an image of the brief missive surfaced on Reddit this week. A NASA spokesman told Yahoo! he couldn’t confirm the letter’s authenticity, but said Lloyd was in fact public information director at the time the letter was purportedly sent.
“Our initial research shows the wording in the response is consistent with the agency’s public stance on female astronauts in 1962,” spokesman Bob Jacobs told Yahoo! in an email.
It would be more than 15 years before Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space.
Jacobs noted that NASA just named eight new astronauts in June, half of which were women, NASA’s highest percentage ever for an astronaut class.
“So times have certainly changed over the past 51 years,” he said.