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First woman in space ready for one-way trip to Mars

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   June 7, 2013 at 1:38 PM   |   Comments

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June 7 (UPI) -- Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to go to space, said on Friday she was ready to leave retirement and head to Mars, even if it would be just a one-way trip.

Tereshkova, whose call sign was "Seagull," was speaking at a news conference in Moscow ahead of the 50th anniversary of her June 16, 1963 launch.

Tereshkova was part of a team of women assembled by Soviet authorities as potential astronauts in 1961, but she was the only one to go to space. The next Russian woman, Svetlana Savitskaya, didn't do so until 1982.

She also doesn't like the idea of space tourism, saying, "Only specialists should be making space flights because, while there have been a lot of flights and more than 50 astronauts, there is still a lot that hasn’t been studied.”

Tereshkova's historic solo space flight was a three-day mission during which she orbited Earth 48 times. Just 26 at the time, she was part of a group that studied the possibility of going to Mars.

"Mars is my favorite planet," Tereshkova said. "Of course, it’s a dream to go to Mars and find out whether there was life there or not." And even though a trip to Mars would be a one-way mission, she told reporters, "I am ready."

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