Valerie Thomas: The NASA Physicist Who Created Illusion Transmitter

Dr. Valerie Thomas, a graduate of Morgan State University. The NASA physicist invented the illusion transmitter, the first mechanism that allowed images to be viewed in 3D using concave mirrors and rays of light. Without Thomas invention, there wouldn’t be an MRI machine or 3D television sets.

Working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she managed the development of early Landsat image processing software systems and became the resident expert on the Computer Compatible Tapes, or CCTs, that were used to store early Landsat imagery.

Thomas was one of the image processing specialists who facilitated the ambitious Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment, known as LACIE—a project that showed for the first time that global crop monitoring could be done with Landsat satellite imagery.

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