Lien is the latest in a long line of women whose crafting skills have been vital to Nasa. During the Apollo programme, which sent the first humans to the moon, employees at defence contractor Raytheon were employed to "weave" the software for the spacecraft. Referred to as the "little old ladies", many of them were in fact young women, threading copper wires through tiny magnetic loops to create the individual ones and zeros of programme code. Their role in this time consuming and incredibly precise process was largely invisible to the outside world.