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Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA announced today that the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday has been named for the first woman (and lesbian) in space, astronaut Sally Ride:

RideLast Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon's north pole. The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28:51 p.m.

PST (5:28:51 p.m. EST) and 2:29:21 p.m. PST (5:29:21 p.m. EST) at a speed of 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5 mile- (2.5 -kilometer) tall mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt.

"Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today," said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride's contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her."

The impact marked a successful end to the GRAIL mission, which was NASA's first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach. Ride, who died in July after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, led GRAIL's MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science, in San Diego.

Along with its primary science instrument, each spacecraft carried a MoonKAM camera that took more than 115,000 total images of the lunar surface. Imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study. The names of the spacecraft were selected by Ride and the mission team from student submissions in a nationwide contest.

"Sally Ride worked tirelessly throughout her life to remind all of us, especially girls, to keep questioning and learning," said Sen.  Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. "Today her passion for making students part of NASA's science is honored by naming the impact site for her."

Sally Ride's posthumous coming out was named by Towleroad as one of "the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" in a list we published this morning.

Check out all the names HERE.


I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" »


'Pro-Family' Extremists: Astronaut Sally Ride May Have Paid Price for Being Gay by Dying Early

This seems to have been written shortly after her death but Right Wing Watch recently brought it to light. The Family Research Institute speculates a bit about pioneering astronaut Sally Ride's death in July, dragging out the right-wing chestnut that gays die early and applying it to her life.

Right Wing Watch reports:

RideRide was married to a fellow astronaut from 1982 to 1987. But it was just revealed she had a ‘long time lesbian relationship’ of 27 years. Do the math: her 27 year relationship with a professor of school psychology (and co-founder of Sally Ride’s company) means that she got into that relationship in 1985, smack in the middle of her marriage. It would appear that her childhood friend broke up her marriage.

And Sally may have paid with some of her lifespan. Our latest research into recent homosexual obituaries from San Francisco indicates that lesbians are dying on average around 60ish. Ride fits the pattern of lesbian deaths, but not that of married women’s deaths, which usually extend into the early-to-mid 80s.

Is this proof that homosexual activity leads to an early death? No, of course not. Had she stayed married, Sally Ride might have died at the same age and of the same malady. But, on average, her death fits a consistent pattern suggesting that homosexuality is associated with an early demise.

Ride died of pancreatic cancer. She was 61.


Astronaut Sally Ride's Posthumous Coming Out Confirmed: 'Sally Had a Very Fundamental Sense of Privacy'

S_ride

Before astronaut Sally Ride's obituary was released late yesterday, there had been no previous public acknowledgement that she was a lesbian, Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman from Sally Ride Science, told Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.

With the simple statement that Ride was survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years", she was out.

Sally's sister Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said yesterday, "We consider Tam a member of the family."

Saying that her sister was a very private person, Bear Ride said, "People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, that's going to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew -- and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.

"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 Ride, who identifies as gay, said.

"I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," she added.

Bear Ride told Geidner that she never hid her relationship with Tam, and that Sally's close friends knew: "Sally didn't use labels. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."


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