(CNN)The first footsteps on the moon belonged to two men, but they may never have made it there if not for Margaret Hamilton.
Her software put men on the moon. Fifty years later, Margaret Hamilton got a glowing moonlit tribute
The software engineer developed the onboard computer programs that powered NASA's Apollo missions, including the 1969 moon landing.
So, it's only fitting that in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a portrait of the bespectacled pioneer reflected the light of the moon.
On Thursday, Google unveiled a giant tribute to Hamilton in California's Mojave Desert: More than 107,000 mirrors were positioned to reflect moonlight and form her image for one night.
The artwork, at more than 1.4 square miles wide, is larger than New York's Central Park, Google says. It was staged on the grounds of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the world's largest solar thermal power plant.
Hamilton effectively invented the term "software engineer" with her work developing the Apollo guidance computer, the lifeline for astronauts that controlled the spacecraft, Google said in announcing the artistic honor.
She regularly brought her young daughter, Lauren, to work with her on weekends, according to the search giant. Lauren played in the simulator that her mother built to test in-flight programs and inadvertently led Hamilton to rethink her strategy.
Lauren once crashed the simulator, ending the mission prematurely by hitting a button while the craft was in flight.
So, Hamilton programmed backstops to prevent an astronaut from doing the same midflight, a mistake that would yield far more dire consequences in space, Google says.
"There was no second chance. We knew that," Hamilton wrote in 2009 for MIT. "We had to find a way and we did."
It's a good thing she prepared for emergency scenarios. The computer processor on the Apollo 11's lunar module nearly overloaded as the craft neared the moon, which could've forced Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to abort, Google says.
But the software cleared