"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live." - Mae Jemison
Mae Jemison always knew she would be an astronaut some day. She watched the Apollo missions as a little girl, dreaming of what it would be like. "I remember being irritated that there were no women astronauts. People tried to explain that to me, and I did not buy it."
Born in Decatur, Alabama in 1956, Jemison was fascinated with science early on and received full support from her parents. She looked not only to the explorers of her time, but those of the future. She grew up watching Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek TV series, inspired by seeing a black woman, Lieutenant Commander Uhura, in a major role on the USS Enterprise.
With a thirst for knowledge, Jemison graduated high school early and attended Stanford University at the age of 16. After attaining her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in African and African-American studies, she went on to earn her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University. Afterwards, she worked as a general practitioner, spent time volunteering for the Peace Corps and then pursued her dream to be an astronaut.
In 1992, Jemison became the first black female astronaut to serve in space for NASA. She conducted biomedical experiments aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-47. "The first thing I saw from space was Chicago, my hometown," Jemison said.
Since then, Jemison has founded her own company, led summer camps to teach the next generation of explorers, and currently heads the 100 Year Starship program, which seeks to push human space travel beyond our solar system within the next 100 years.
100 Year Starship (100YSS) exists to make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years. They unreservedly dedicate themselves to identifying and pushing the radical leaps in knowledge and technology needed to achieve interstellar flight, while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth. They actively seek to include the broadest swath of people and human experience in understanding, shaping and implementing this global aspiration.
They believe that pursuing an extraordinary tomorrow will create a better world today. Consider donating to help push for the thought change and innovation that will ensure the capabilities for interstellar travel by 2112.