Sally Ride passed away today of pancreatic cancer. As the first American woman in space, as well as the youngest (32) and gay, her impact on history is undeniable. Amongst all of the writing on her life today, my favorite comes from PBS:
Sally Ride saw space as a tool for inspiring young people. She's a hard core scientist, she's an astrophysicist, she's a person who really was the real deal when it came to space science, and yet she never for a moment neglected or overlooked that this was a tool for inspiring a new generation. She wrote books aimed at that clientele, aimed at boys and girls, but primarily girls.
She saw space as a way to keep kids engaged in these subjects. She saw space as part of the overall well-being of our country. To her, bringing humans to space was in some ways a means to an end, in a way that it provided a means for young people to be engaged.
Check out a great video and tweets celebrating her life.