Anousheh Ansari, a Woman of Mass Instruction

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As a long time space advocate I have seen many fads, hopes, and dreams come and go in our quest to open the space frontier for everyone. This week something special has happened that has to be commented on. Ms Anousheh Ansari has done something truly wonderful for herself, human spaceflight, and the people of her native Iran. She is not only the world's first female space tourist but the first female born in Iran to go to space. This is a doubly important event in that it has created a global stir among the Iranian diaspora as well as with her women in Iran and around the world.

A sample of this can be seen in the responses to her blog. I heartily recommend that everyone visit her space blog at http://spaceblog.xprize.org/ and not only read her thoughts and observations but more importantly, read the comments from everyone that has posted. Here is a small sample:

Dear Anousheh:

I am so proud of you as a human being, a woman, and Iranian. You courage is admirable. The day you went to space I was in IT mgmt conf in Salt Lake City. I was sitting at a table with other participant and they asked me where I am from. For the first time in last 25 years that I have been here when I said I am of Iranian origin, they gave me a respectfull look and mentioned you as the first Iranian-American woman going to Space.

I wish you a safe trip back home. I will follow your trip, ans may be someday meet you in person in Dallas.

Regards,_Azadeh Kojoori

Here is another one from this morning from a young Iranian girl from Canada:

Salam Anousheh, Hi Haletoon khoobeh? khosh migzare? let me say first: OH, MY GOD!I'm so speechless! when I just saw this blog today, I just wanted to kill myself why i didn't find out about it earlier. I can't believe you're writting from Space!Holy, God! I think you will be the first person blogging from there! nice job! I have to say that you became one of my heros . You just showed me that I can make my dreams come true, too. One of them is the same like you had! you did it, but i still have to work for it! I'm only sixteen years old and I don't give up to my dreams that I have been thinking about them all my life. THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU for letting me believe myself once again. You are a true hero to me and I will never forget you!!! I waited two hours after midnight to see you on NASA TV on internet to be sure that I wasn't dreaming all the time or just heard something.I believed that as an Iranian I can be somebody too one day. You are a role model for everyone and specially Iranians. GOOD JOB! and keep writting your diaries and show people who you are!_I love you and I will be following your story in here and news!

YOUR NEW 16 YEAR OLD IRANIAN FAN FROM TORONTO, CANADA!

This is just a miniscule sample of the incredible global response that Ms. Ansari has received for her exploits. In a nation completely dominated by Men, where travel is restricted, opportunities quashed, and the rights of women mostly non existent, Ms. Ansari is an inspiration to her people in Iran and to women worldwide. The only bad thing that the state run newspapers in Iran could say about her was that she is "a wealthy woman".

Ms. Ansari is a Woman of Mass Instruction (WMI) in the global contest of ideas. While so many pillory the United States these days and the west in general for being in decline, decadent, yada, yada, yada, Ms. Ansari's exploits explode these myths. Would she have this opportunity if she grew up in any middle eastern country? How about South America? The simple fact is that although the west is far from perfect and the struggle for liberty for all and women's rights are not where they should be, they are light years ahead of most of the rest of the world. In this we can all be proud. We can be doubly proud of Ms. Ansari and her commitment to being a beacon of light in the sky (dozens of women were at an observatory at 5:30 am this morning to see that point of light fly by) to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear about what is good in the world and what the possibilities are for humans and the exploration and development of space.

God bless Ms. Ansari and we all thank your for your commitment to space development as the sponsor of the Ansari X-Prize and your continuing love of science and space exploration.


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