This striking portrait of Sally Ride, 1st American woman in space was painted by portrait artist Christopher Paluso for Ride's 2009 induction into the San Diego Air and Space Museum's International Hall of Fame. She was the 1st American woman, 1st lesbian in space and at the time, the youngest person in space at the age of 32.

The late astronaut Ride remains an inspiration to so many, as a trailblazer and hero. Portraits like this often reveal the mythic element to ordinary people's lives, and Paluso has captured Ride's journey on top of a pillar of light wonderfully here, as well as her assured and confident smile. Our hearts go out to her family, especially to her partner Tam of 27 years.

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More about artist Christopher Paluso:

More tributes to Sally Ride on Scientific American and our blog network: