Shannon Lucid Essay Research Paper Shannon LucidJon

Shannon Lucid Essay, Research Paper

Shannon Lucid

Jon Lang

Ever since children have dared to dream, they have always dreamt of

going to the moon or to the stars. For the millions of children who dream this,

only an infinitely small portion actually achieve this goal. In 1943 in war-

torn China, a girl was born who had this same dream. Her name was Shannon Lucid.

She was born in 1943 to a Baptist preacher, Joseph Oscar Wells and

Myrtle Wells, a nurse. At 6 months of age she and her parents were sent to a

prison camp by the Japanese. Only a year later were they safe in American arms

after they were traded for Japanese POW’s. After the war they went back to

China, but in 1949 they were forced to leave when the communists took over.

They then settled in Bethany, Oklahoma.

She always had the dream that someday she would be a space explorer.

People thought her crazy for this dream though, because the United

States didn’t even have a space program. After graduating from Bethany High

School in 1960 she got her pilot’s license. In regard to her dream she said,

“the Baptists wouldn’t let women preach, so I had to become an astronaut to get

closer to God than my father.” By this time America already had a space program.

She could not believe that of the first seven Mercury astronauts, none were

females. This is just one more instance she complained of discrimination of

women in traditionally male held occupations. She experienced the same thing

when she tried unsuccessfully to become a commercial pilot. So from ?66-’68 she

worked at Kerr-Mcgee Corp. as a chemist. This is also where she met her

husband Michael Lucid. After she was married she returned to school at the

University of Oklahoma, where she earned her B.S. in Chemistry. One interesting

occurrence after the birth of her daughter, the very next day she took a

biochemistry exam, which her instructor had expected her to make up later.

Three years later she finally had a chance to fulfill her dream by

getting into the space program. The program was now allowing women. She

“scrambled” to get her application in and was accepted as one of the first six

female astronauts. These women had to go through rigorous testing and they

proved that it doesn’t take a Y chromosome to have “The Right Stuff”.

Her greatest accomplishment to date is she has spent the most time in

space of any American. She spent 188 days and 65,454,841 miles in space. She

is truly a tribute to sheer will power. When she came back to earth the effects

of space usually make the bones and muscles grow weak from lack of gravity. The

Russian cosmonauts have to be carried out on stretchers. Her ability to walk

can be accredited to her 400 plus hours logged on the treadmill and stationary

bike. That is almost 17 days or a tenth of her total time in space, working out.

The space program has really changed in the past ten to fifteen years.

Now it is predominately scientific. The space program really isn’t into taking

patriotic notches like they once were. Most of the missions deal with

scientific experiments. For example, Lucid conducted experiments with quail

eggs and the effects of zero gravity on them and how protein crystals are formed.

On other missions scientists have created perfect spheres, a feat almost

impossible on earth. It is truly a shift from the “The Right Stuff” to the

“The New Stuff”. Gone are the days of racing T-38’s and here to stay are the

days of science and for the good of man not the military.

Shannon Lucid has been one of the people that has allowed everyone to

dream for the stars. She hasn’t had quite the effect of Neil Armstrong “one

giant leap for mankind” but she has made a great leap for everyone who dares to



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