At a time when there were almost no women scientists at NASA, American engineer Jeanne L. Crews made a critical contribution: designing a "space bumper" that could protect satellites and manned craft from space debris and meteorites. After joining NASA in 1964, Crews realized that space vehicles would not hold up to impacts from even small objects. She wasn't alone in her concerns: another NASA employee, Burt Cour-Palais, was concerned about the same problem, so as soon as she met him, she declared, "We are going to go fix this problem." They disagreed on the best solution, so each chose an approach to pursue. Crews decided to work with a ceramic fabric called Nextel; she created a multi-layered, multi-fabric shield, lighter than a single sheet of aluminum but capable of stopping the vast majority of space debris by diffusing the object's energy as it penetrated the bumper's layers. Thanks to her determination and creativity, the astronauts of today — and the future — are a little bit safer as they travel the solar system.