For everyone who complains that Barbie dolls teach young girls to feel bad about themselves, behold the “I Can Be” collection. It’s featured Barbie in a variety of fulfilling careers, from last year’s President (“President Barbie doll can stand on her own — literally!”) to 2010’s Computer Engineer (complete with glasses and dorky shoes). Now, Barbie’s long list of careers is getting a new addition: Mars Explorer Barbie, released just in time for the one-year anniversary of the Mars Curiosity rover landing on the red planet.
The $12.99 doll debuted on August 5 in a flurry of hot pink. Her helmet, backpack, boots, and spacesuit accents all feature her favorite color, even though pink seems like it would clash with the red dust on Mars. “Adding to her resume of more than 130 careers, Mars Explorer Barbie doll inspires girls to be adventurous and to always reach for the stars!” Mattel said in a statement. It teamed up with NASA to create this newest career Barbie, and the box includes information about famous female astronauts.
This isn’t Barbie’s first foray into space. Her first space exploration was in 1965, in honor of Valentina Tereshkova, who became the first woman astronaut two years earlier. That silver and brown space suit had no pink accents. It did include an American flag, however, even though Tereshkova was Russian. The 1985 astronaut Barbie took a very different approach to costuming: she was outfitted in a mostly pink, poufy suit that included knee-high boots.
The new doll isn’t perfect — the suit is suspiciously form-fitting, and it oddly fails to protect Barbie’s hands against the elements of Mars, which can sink to -225 degrees Fahrenheit.Nonetheless, it’s undoubtably an improvement from the the early 1990s when Teen Talk Barbie was programmed to say, “Math class is tough!”