New American Girl doll is an aspiring Martian astronaut

(CNN) — There’s a new role model encouraging girls to reach for the stars.

Luciana Vega is an 11-year-old Chilean-American girl who dreams of being the first person to walk on Mars. And she’s American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year.

Though American Girl is known for its original line of historical dolls, books and accessories, Luciana isn’t a historical figure. Her story was created with modern girls between ages 6 and 12 in mind — or, as NASA likes to call them, the “Mars Generation.” Luciana is the first American Girl character created to encourage an interest for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The doll and the first two books in her series debuted on New Year’s Day. A third book will follow this year. Her doll can be accessorized with flight and space suits, as well as a Mars habitat and maker station. A purple streak in her hair hints at her colorful creative side.

In the first book, Luciana goes to Space Camp, where she works on a robotics project and learns how to pilot a spacecraft and conduct experiments on the International Space Station in a simulated environment.

American Girl worked with an advisory board that included astronaut Megan McArthur Behnken, former NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan, US Space and Rocket Center CEO and Executive Director Deborah Barnhart and NASA’s manager of strategic alliances, Maureen O’Brien.

“We wanted to make sure we were getting it right, but we also wanted to bring attention to the fact that there are some really amazing women in this field,” said Julie Parks, director of public relations at American Girl. “This is something that could happen for you. It’s no secret that females are underrepresented in this area. We need strong innovators and a wide range of thinkers.”

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