Sept. 12, 1992: Dr. Mae Jemison Becomes First African American Woman in Space
On this day in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel through space. She served as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47.
WTCI’s Alison Lebovitz discusses the legacy of the first woman of color to travel beyond the stratosphere on “The A List with Alison Lebovitz.” Watch the interview here.
Jemison appeared on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me in 2013 and told host Peter Sagal how she geeked out about Star Trek as a young woman, relished dancing in the Space Shuttle Endeavour, abhorred using diapers in space, and much more.
She also described what it felt like to finally achieve her dream of visiting space:
And I remember one time actually we flew through the Southern Lights… They’re these shimmering curtain of lights. So there’s nothing that you could have ever seen in a science fiction movie that would even come close to seeing that in person.
The First Earthrise Was Captured 48 Years Ago Today
On August 23, 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft captured the first picture of Earth taken from lunar orbit. This image shows the photo as it was first seen in 1966, as well as a restored version of the photo created by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project using the original tapes and 1960s era technology.
Though astronauts and cosmonauts often encounter striking scenes of Earth’s limb, this very unique image, part of a series over Earth’s colorful horizon, has the added feature of a silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour. The image was photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member prior to STS-130 rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. Docking occurred at 11:06 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 9, 2010. The orbital outpost was at 46.9 south latitude and 80.5 west longitude, over the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Chile with an altitude of 183 nautical miles when the image was recorded. The orange layer is the troposphere, where all of the weather and clouds which we typically watch and experience are generated and contained. This orange layer gives way to the whitish Stratosphere and then into the Mesosphere.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of The Day the Earth Smiled.
On July 19th, 2013, people from more than 40 countries around the world and 30 U.S. states shared images of themselves waving at Saturn as part of NASA’s Wave at Saturn event. The event recognized the same day that NASA’s Cassini spacecraft turned back toward Earth and took our picture as part of a larger mosaic of the Saturn system. Normally, a spacecraft can’t turn back and image Earth directly because the sun’s rays would interfere with its cameras, but Cassini was able to take stunning images of Saturn with Earth in the background because Saturn itself came between Cassini and the sun, eclipsing the potentially damaging rays. The Day the Earth Smiled was the third time ever that the Earth was imaged from the outer solar system.