Remembering Sally Ride, first American woman in space

Today we say goodbye to a woman who inspired many, if not all of us, in Club Jade.

You can read about her life on her wiki page, her science education company website, or any of the regular news outlets.

Yes, she contributed to science, to the space shuttle program, and to science education.  You’ll read about those at the sites above.

However, it’s the stories you will not read as part of the official record that are the most important when it comes to the impact Sally Ride had on the hearts and minds of children growing up in the 80’s through today. 

Club Jade’s own Paula tweeted earlier today:

I had the honor of meeting Sally Ride when I was twelve. She encouraged me to pursue science so I could follow her to the stars.

My earliest memory of Sally Ride was seeing her picture on a wall in a classroom, with the simple note of “First American Woman in Space – 1983”.  My first report in that class was on her because of that picture and caption and it made me a fan for life.  I wanted to go to space camp, I was driven to learn more about science and technology, and I was absolutely empowered to never let anyone tell me “girls can’t do X”.  All because of Sally’s example.  Thank you Sally Ride, for giving so many of us young girls an example of what we too could achieve.

I’d like to invite you to share how she impacted your life, no matter how small, in the comments below.

In the news: Will 300 sequel make a movie star of Joel ‘Uncle Owen’ Edgerton?

Rising star. Joel Edgerton has worked steadily in Hollywood since Attack of the Clones, but a big name he isn’t – yet. He’s currently in talks for a role that could change that, Vulture reports – the lead in the sequel to 300, Battle of Artemisia. (UPDATE: Vulture is now saying Edgerton is also being offered the role of Ilya in Steven Soderbergh’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. remake. )

Edgerton starred in September’s Warrior, last month’s The Thing and will play Tom Buchanan in next year’s high-profile adaption of The Great Gatsby alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.

Home entertainment sales up. A trade group reports that home entertainment spending has risen 5% in the third quarter – the first increase since 2008. Helping drive the rise are Blu-ray sales, up a whopping 58% from a year ago. I can think of one recent release that may have helped with that…

Science! NASA has awarded three scientists $100,000 to “study the ability to trap and move objects using laser light,” aka tractor beams. Evil overlord wannabes everywhere are plotting in joy. For inspiration, check out Gadget Review’s list of Star Wars tech that now exists.

Commercials. British electronics retailer Dixons is the latest business to borrow Darth Vader for an ad campaign. The spots will debut Saturday.

It’s Tatooine! NASA finds planet orbiting two stars

Why was John Knoll at a NASA press conference? Because the space agency has discovered a real-life Tatooine: A planet that orbits two stars at once. The New York Times writes:

The official name of the new planet is Kepler 16b, but astronomers are already referring to it informally as Tatooine, after the home planet of Luke and Anakin Skywalker in the George Lucas “Star Wars” movies, which also had two suns. Indeed, a representative from Mr. Lucas’s production company, Lucasfilm, expected to participate in a news conference at NASA’s Ames Research Laboratory in California, Kepler’s home office.

So, not a moon. Or a space station. I’m so relieved.

I hope it’s just a (forest) moon: ILM rep to be at NASA press conference Thursday

ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll will be at a NASA press conference on Thursday. The presser is regarding a discovery made by the Kepler misson.

Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the “habitable zone,” the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of the orbiting planet.

What could it be?

Space Station crew costumes where no one has gone before?

The mission poster for the latest NASA International Space Station mission decided to boldly go for a Star Trek look. In a case of life-imitating-art-imitating-life, while the ISS crew wear Next Generation uniforms, the background logo is of the NX-01 Enterprise, which featured the ISS in the opening sequence. So does this create a temporal paradox?

NASA had done some other movie parody posters before for its shuttle and ISS expedition teams. No word on when the ISS’ superlaser will be fully charged and operational.