Astronaut, physicist, and American science hero Sally Ride died yesterday of pancreatic cancer, at 61. Dr. Ride was the first American female in space, and left a vast legacy of scientific accomplishments. When her astronaut days ended, she worked to promote space and science literacy to young people around the world through Sally Ride Science.
As friends and professional associates knew, and as was quietly noted in the obituary released on her website, Ms. Ride had been in a committed relationship with a woman for some 27 years. She met her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy nearly 50 years ago. Neither her cancer diagnosis nor her orientation were publicly shared, prior to her death.
Sally Ride's sister, Bear Ride, addressed this very personal aspect of Sally's very private life in comments to Buzzfeed today. "We consider Tam a member of the family," she told Chris Geidner.
"The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same," Bear, who identifies as gay, told Buzzfeed. "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them."
Asked about those who would have opposed legal recognition of her sister's relationship, Bear Ride bluntly replied, "Who cares about them, really? There are those who are stubbornly ignorant, and if they want to continue in that, God bless them, but probably best not to talk to my family."
The rest of the interview is well worth a read. More about Dr. Ride in our post from the day she died.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi dives in a space suit during a refresher training exercise at the Cosmonaut training centre at Star City, outside Moscow January 23, 2012. Noguchi is tweeting his experience here, with cool snapshots from Star City. REUTERS/Sergei Remezov
Last week, I got to interview astronaut Rex Walheim using questions submitted by BoingBoing readers
. Those readers (plus one runner up) are entitled to a Jackhammer Jill pin and an awesome BoingBoing sticker
. But to get those prizes, you need to email me. Kansas, Scratcheee, spocko, ganman, and Titus
: You should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Maggie
Rex Walheim is an astronaut. He's gone to space three times, including on the last flight of the space shuttle. He has spent an accumulated 36 hours outside the ISS on spacewalks. He has tweeted from 240 miles above sea level.
Walheim reached those heights the old-fashioned way: Air Force test pilot school (plus a masters in industrial engineering). But his isn't the only path to the stars. Today, NASA has Walheim chatting with lots of different news outlets about the astronaut recruitment process and what it takes, in the modern world, to have the right stuff. I got to talk to him this morning. Walheim was kind enough to answer five questions, submitted by BoingBoing readers, about astronaut training, the astronaut selection process, and how the Earth-bound can recreate some of the astronaut experience in our daily lives.
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On Friday morning, I'll get 10 minutes to talk to astronaut Rex Walheim about the astronaut recruiting process—how candidates are chosen, who should apply, what happens to you at different levels of the process ... all that good stuff.
Ten minutes ain't much. I'm normally tearing through an interview if I can get it done in 20 minutes. I'll probably have time to get through two questions with Walheim before he's on to the next reporter. So I wanted to do something fun. I'm going to ask him your questions. What do you want to know about how astronauts are recruited and chosen? Now's your chance to find out.
Here's how this will work: You've got until Thursday at 2:00 Central to submit your questions in the comment section of this post. Thursday night, I'll pick the two best questions—via wholly subjective methods. Those will be the ones I take to Walheim, and I'll post his answers here on BoingBoing.
Chances are, there will be lots of good questions and I'll have a hard time choosing. Luckily, I've got a stockpile of awesome BoingBoing stickers and Jackhammer Jill pins. So the two winners, and four runners-up, will all receive a sticker and a pin.
David East drew this detailed, beautiful piece from a 2008 photograph of astronaut Ron Garan working on the exterior of the International Space Station. It's damn fine work.
Look below the jump to see the photo East's drawing was based on.
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