Sally Ride–Dr. Sally Ride, which usually gets left out, but she did have a doctorate in astrophysics and a master’s degree in awesomeness–died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. She was the first woman from the U.S. and the youngest person ever in space, and she was my biggest girl-crush when I was growing up.
From her L.A. Times obituary:
“The impact of Sally Ride and women like her cannot be overestimated,” said Amy Mainzer, an astrophysicist who is a principle scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada-Flintridge. “She was an ‘existence proof,’ Mainzer told The Times. “She proved that it was possible to work in space physics and as a space scientist and be female at the same time. What she did was prove that you could make it all the way to the top and accomplish amazing things in these fields — and still have a pair of ovaries.”
In the week before her first shuttle flight, [Ride] told Newsweek that “I did not come to NASA to make history. It is important to me that people don’t think I was picked for the flight because I am a woman and it is time for NASA to send one.”
Shortly after landing, Ride said, “The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun that I will ever have in my life.”
Sally Ride is survived by her mother, her sister, her partner of 27 years, more than 40 U.S. women who have followed her into space, and about a million girls who have been inspired and learned to love science because of her mission in space and her mission in education.