Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mae Jemison. I’m still feeling giddy about it this morning. The audience, of course, wanted to talk about her years with NASA. She told the story of when how and why she applied for the astronaut program, and about how her first application was turned down, but she didn’t give up and applied again. She received “the call” while in the middle of examining patients.
Even though the audience would have asked questions all night about her time working with NASA, what Dr. Jemison really wanted to talk about was what she’s been doing in the twenty years since she flew into space. Right now she’s focused on her 100 Year Starship Initiative which will “…make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system to another star a reality over the next 100 years. 100YSS will embark on a journey across time and space. . . If my language is dramatic, it is because this project is monumental. And our team is both invigorated and sobered by the confidence DARPA has in us to make interstellar flight a reality.”
One question from the audience that caught her off guard was “What is your favorite sound?” She had to stop and think for a minute. Her answer: “The sound cats make when they call to their kittens.”
Here are a few pictures I took with my new mobile phone. The quality isn’t great, so I hope to replace them with better ones taken by a friend of mine with a much better camera: