Will the Space Flight Affect Your Reproductive Organs?
30 years ago today, 32-year-old Sally Ride became the first American woman to go to space as well as the youngest astronaut in our nation’s history. During her first press conference, journalists asked some really good questions:
…like these: Will the flight affect your reproductive organs? The answer, delivered with some asperity: “There’s no evidence of that.” Do you weep when things go wrong on the job? Retort: “How come nobody ever asks Rick those questions?” Will you become a mother? First an attempt at evasion, then a firm smile: “You notice I’m not answering.”
After NASA, Ride worked as a physics professor at UC San Diego and a director of the California Space Institute. She was the only person to serve on the investigative boards for both the Challenger and Columbia accidents and, according to People, she allowed her daughter to acquire a collie only after pre-carpeting her house in collie colors. About the gender barriers she knocked down: “I honestly don’t have time to think of it.” Ride died of pancreatic cancer in May 2012, but will be awarded a posthumous Medal of Freedom later this year.
In other NASA news: the 2013 astronaut candidate class — eight people selected, and half of them women — is the first ever gender-equal group of astronauts-to-be.