Somewhere in America today, there’s a 10-year-old girl who could be the first person to walk on Mars. She’s probably playing with a toy chemistry set or a kid’s telescope right now, gazing up at the heavens and dreaming big dreams. I know a lot about that girl because in 1961, during the inspirational early days of our space program, that was me.
The world that girl will enter, and in particular the state of our space and science industries, is different for her than it was for me. In some ways, she has greater opportunities. While still unacceptably behind men, women have more avenues to becoming scientists today than they did when I answered a call in a newspaper ad to become an astronaut. In other ways, our space program has lost the national stature it had when I was growing up. In both regards, though, we can and must do better.
I believe this election is critical to how well we will respond to these challenges. I believe it will determine how well and how quickly we sow the seeds of opportunity so that little girl dreaming big dreams can achieve them like I achieved mine. And with these beliefs in mind, I will be voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.