First Woman Astronaut Turning 70

The world's first woman astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, will be turning 70 next week. She says she still dreams of traveling to Mars, even if it's a one-way trip.

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This week marks the 70th birthday of the first woman in space. In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova climbed aboard a Soviet spaceship, scoring Cold War publicity points for the USSR. Tereshkova was a 26-year-old engineering student and a proletarian, the daughter of a peasant. That and her experience as an amateur parachutist made her an excellent candidate to be a pawn in the international propaganda war.

After the flight, Tereshkova became an icon and role model for young Soviet women. She was chosen for important political positions. She even got a crater named after her on the dark side of the moon.

But this Tuesday, at a birthday party thrown by President Vladimir Putin, Tereshkova said there's one more thing she dreams of doing. I would enjoy flying to Mars, she told a reporter. I'm ready to fly, without coming back.

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