Girls Just Want To ... Fly In Space
Today's youngsters may have to live with the TV images of two space shuttle disasters, but astronaut Sally Ride found last week that they are undaunted in their fascination with orbital flight. "Space touches something very deep in a lot of people, including the kids we saw here today," Ride said, while visiting the San Diego Aerospace Museum last Saturday. "It's new experiences. It's fascination. Maybe with Mars. Maybe with weightlessness. It's exploration." Her visit attracted 350 fifth-through eighth-grade girls, the Union-Tribune reported. Ride, 51, was NASA's first female shuttle astronaut, and flew twice aboard the Challenger, in 1983 and 1984. Ride is now a physics professor at the University of California San Diego and heads a Science Club that aims to encourage girls of middle-school age to strengthen their interest in science and math. She told the group at the museum that her career started when she was a student at Stanford, and she answered an ad in the school newspaper seeking volunteers for the space program. "It's neat to come here and see somebody that's actually been up in space," 7-year-old Taylor Walsh told the Union-Tribune. "She went up in space and controlled the robotic arm!" Well, what could be better than that?