Monday, July 30, 2012

Space news sad and glad: Sally Ride and Pluto

In the crush of a hectic schedule last week, I missed the sad news of Sally Ride's death, at 61, from pancreatic cancer. She wasn't the first woman in space. That honor belongs to Valentina Tereshkova. Still, I admired Ride's easygoing charm, and commend her double major in English and physics, perhaps a personal attempt to transcend the divide described by C.P. Snow in The Two Cultures. (Photo: NASA)

Happier news is the discovery of a fifth moon of Pluto. Six years ago I noted, a bit wistfully, Pluto's demotion from tenth ninth (thanks paulo1 for catching my error) planet to "dwarf planet" status. While its having an additional satellite doesn't change that classification, it does show that the little devil still has a surprise or two in store.