Yesterday, thanks so much to the weekly Snippet of Science posted by Faraday’s Candle, I learned about Sally Ride. I’m a researcher at heart, and I was really inspired by the snippet, so I went hunting for more information. As noted in the linked post above, in 1983 she was the first and youngest American woman to go into space. During her life she did incredible works to inspire and encourage children and other women to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She continues to inspire people today through her foundation Sally Ride Science.
One thing I thought was incredible was the media’s reaction to her first launch! They asked her questions like, “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” (thanks Wikipedia!) I don’t know if they ever asked Neil Armstrong about his reproductive organs, and maybe it is a serious consideration, but to ask if she’d cry over work-related mishaps…? <insert a crinkling of the nose> But even better was her response: she only saw herself as an astronaut.
Of course, being so inspired, I wrote a poem in her honor:
History transformed with this giant leap for womankind,
when Sally Ride, born on Earth, leaped to touch the sky.
Seeking to keep her grounded, they worried over her ovaries.
“I am an astronaut!” she declared, as she leaped to touch the sky.
Two rides she took into space, and it was time to see the future;
she desired to encourage others, when she leaped to touch the sky.
Upon returning home to earth, she lay deep roots of wisdom,
and from her work stems inspiration for us all to leap into the sky.
15 Jan 2015