It’s not just countries like Canada that pay homage to space exploration on their currency. The US Mint has unveiled the first coins of its American Women Quarters program, and one of them features the late Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut. The neighborhood represents Ride looking at Earth, as she liked to do during her free time aboard the Space Shuttle.
The quarters will be released between 2022 and 2025. The other quarters celebrate similar women who have pushed cultural and political boundaries, including Maya Angelou (the acclaimed writer), Wilma Mankiller (an advocate for women’s rights and Native Americans), Nina Otero-Warren (a suffrage leader in New Mexico) and Anna May Wong (the first Chinese-American Hollywood star).
Ride’s place in American history is well established. She is best known for breaking NASA’s gender barrier with her first space shuttle flight in 1983, but she also founded the agency’s exploration office, headed the California Space Institute, and played a key role. in the Challenger and Columbia disaster investigations. It sparked interest in space among children, and girls in particular. Ride also broke new ground for the LGBTQ community as the first lesbian in space. So it’s no surprise that Ride has a quarterback, then – she’s had a disproportionate influence on spaceflight and society in general.