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Astronaut Mae Jemison Says Space Program Should Go On

By Lisa Litzinger

Buffalo, NY – Space pioneer Mae Jemison says the Columbia tragedy should not deter America's manned space program. She spoke at the University at Buffalo last night as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

Jemison became the first African-American woman to go into space in 1992 aboard space shuttle Endeavour. She said the loss of space shuttle Columbia was personal for many people.

"We lost part of the dream," Jemison said. "We need to get it back on track.

"I think that's why so many people identified with it (the space program) so much because it was part of our dream. All of us have imagined going into space. We've wondered what space was like. It's one of the best things humans have done.

"It's incredible when you look at the crew (of Columbia) and the composition of the crew. There were so many people from different places and different backgrounds."

Jemison called for more science education for both children and adults, noting that technological innovations help build a better society.