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Google Doodle salutes Sally Ride, the first American woman in space

Google Doodle salutes Sally Ride, the first American woman in space

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We don't often draw attention to Google Doodles, but today's is well worth highlighting. The five GIFs on Google's homepage (refresh to see them all) celebrate the life of Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to travel into space on June 18th, 1983. As the video above from the Doodle's animator Olivia Huynh explains, Ride was breaking barriers her whole life: working at NASA as a physicist and later becoming an educator, reaching millions of children — especially girls and minority students — to give them the message that they too could have a career in science. Ride died on July 23rd, 2012 from pancreatic cancer, with today's Doodle marking what would have been her 64th birthday.

One of the five animated GIFs on Google's American homepage today. (Google)

"Studies show that the reason kids turn away from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is not that they don’t like it or aren’t good at it," writes Ride's partner Tam O’Shaughnessy in a blog post for Google. "Instead, young people get turned off because society sends false messages about who scientists are, what they do, and how they work. So Sally decided to use her high profile to motivate young people to stick with their interest in science and to consider pursuing STEM careers." Hopefully, today's Doodle will spread that message just a little wider.

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