The Heartwarming Google Doodle Tribute to NASA's 'Juno' Team Is a Lie

But it's not Google's fault that NASA's so white.

Getty Images / Handout

Following the successful entry of the Juno probe into orbit around Jupiter early Tuesday morning, Google released an adorable celebratory Google doodle. Six scientists in a control station jump up and down after receiving a happy emoji message from the Juno probe. And it’s pretty cool that Google made their scientists really diverse — half are women, and half are people of color.

Unfortunately, this is not actually representative of the team from the Jet Propulsion Lab in charge of the Juno mission.

According to the 2014 NASA Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Study, as an organization, NASA is pretty homogenous. And by that, I mean white and male. Nearly 80 percent of NASA is white, and men make up 62 percent of the organization. And the team that took Juno to Jupiter is even less diverse.

This is the actual photo NASA released of the Juno team celebrating the successful entry into orbit.


Of the 61 investigators and key personal, only 10 members of the team are female. And of those 61 people, only four are not white. If Google wanted to do an accurate doodle with six scientists, one scientist would be female and all the scientists would be white.

To get a non-white person in there, you need 18 scientists in the doodle — 15 men, and three women, one of who is a person of color.

It is still pretty cool that Juno reaching Jupiter has everyone so excited, and maybe Google’s inaccurate doodle has some positive impact. Thanks to Google, girls and children of color see themselves represented in science, and with any luck that will inspire them to become NASA scientists.

Until then, NASA needs to do better to have actual diversity in science, and not just let Google fake it for them.

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