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“When people scoff at sending humans to Mars, and say that pictures of wheel marks on a red desert are not worth the trouble when there are so many things here at home that we could be spending money on, it makes me claustrophobic. It’s as if we’re trying, out of guilt or shame, to crawl back into the cave and watch the shadows on the wall. We’re trying to stay children in our parents’ house, knowing that the road leads to town, and then to another town. We’re saying, “Look, we made a really great toilet that flushes itself! Remember that printing press? That was pretty neat. We even made pyramids — those things are huge! Can’t we just be happy with making a great toilet even greater? Do we really have to go to Mars?” But Mars is waiting. It spins now outside our human reach. We must realize that the work of growing up is not something we can cut when the budget gets tight. It is mission critical, for the intellectual life of the species, for the future of humans, not to stagnate, not to wither, but to stretch, and reach, and always to expand.”—— Lydia Netzer
Rest in Peace, Sally Ride
American astronaut, Sally Ride passed away today from pancreatic cancer. She was 61. Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983 when she made her maiden voyage on the Space Shuttle Challenger. She traveled on the Challenger again in 1984 and was training for a third mission when the Challenger exploded in 1986. She was appointed to the panel charged with investigating the tragedy. After retiring from the space program in 1987, she went to work at her alma mater, Stanford before becoming a professor of physics at UC San Diego.
I remember reading a book about Sally Ride in third or fourth grade and thinking she was the coolest person ever. I was at the age when I was starting to imagine what I could be when I grew up, and Sally Ride taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I should never assume that, just because I’m a girl, certain professions would be off limits.
You’ll be missed, Sally. Rest in Peace.