America’s First Female Astronaut Dies At 61

Sally Ride, the first American woman to journey into space, died on Monday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her foundation announced. She was 61.

Ride first launched into space in 1983 aboard the Challenger shuttle, taking part in the seventh mission of US space shuttle program. US President Barack Obama called her a “national hero and a powerful role model” who “inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars.”

NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement Ride “literally changed the face of America’s space program” and that “the nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers, and explorers.” The agency’s deputy administrator Lori Garver added that the trailblazing astronaut was a “personal and professional role model to me and thousands of women around the world.”

Ride, born May 26, 1951, in southern California, earned degrees in physics and English from Stanford University. She applied to be an astronaut at US space agency NASA in 1977, after seeing an ad in her university’s student newspaper. It was the first time the space agency had allowed applications from civilians — or from women. Ride was one of 35 people, including just six women, chosen from a pool of 8,000 applicants.


She flew in two space missions, logging nearly 350 hours in space. However, after the Challenger explosion that killed all seven crew members, her third planned mission was grounded in 1986. Ride served on the commission to investigate the accident, and was then assigned to NASA headquarters. She retired from the agency in 1987.

She founded Sally Ride Science in 2001, directed NASA-funded education projects, and also co-authored seven science books for children. Ride is survived by Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, as well as by her mother, sister, niece and nephew.

How did Sally Ride’s legacy inspire you in achieving your dreams? Share your thoughts and opinions about women flying into space.

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Global Grind

NASA Probe Detects ‘Alien Matter’ Outside Solar System

For the very first time, a NASA spacecraft has detected matter from outside our solar system — material that came from elsewhere in the galaxy, researchers announced today (Jan. 31).

This so-called interstellar material was spotted by NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a spacecraft that is studying the edge of the solar system from its orbit about 200,000 miles (322,000 kilometers) above Earth.

“This alien interstellar material is really the stuff that stars and planets and people are made of — it’s really important to be measuring it,” David McComas, IBEX principal investigator and assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a news briefing today from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


An international team of scientists presented new findings from IBEX, which included the first detection of alien particles of hydrogen, oxygen and neon, in addition to the confirmation of previously detected helium. While neon and oxygen can be found throughout the galaxy, researchers are still unsure about their distribution. But with the new observations from IBEX, scientists are better able to study the amounts of these elements, and their ratio to one another.

IBEX measures and counts particles called energetic neutral atoms, which are created in an area of our solar system known as the interstellar boundary region. Since its launch, the spacecraft has already made groundbreaking discoveries about the heliosphere, a protective bubble that shields our solar system from powerful, damaging cosmic rays.

 

Source: Fox News

Image: SOTT