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Casual Space

Jul 10, 2020

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides is a public speaker, co-creator of Yuri's Night, and an author on space exploration. Whitesides received a bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford and a master's from Caltech, with a particular interest in astrobiology. She accumulated over five hours of weightless time as a Flight Director for Zero-G Corporation, and plans to travel to space as a "Founder Astronaut" on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo with her husband George T. Whitesides.[1]

Beth’s favorite quote from Loretta on the podcast: “I’ve been to a Hollywood movie premier! I’ve been to the bottom of the ocean! I’ve partied with Buzz Aldrin! I’ve done all of these fancy, glitzy, amazing, check-the-box-I’m-a-successful-person-things, and I can assure you, IT DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING.  At the end of the day and on my deathbed, what’s going to matter most is, Do I love myself? Am I proud of myself? Am I proud of who I am? Am I proud of the relationships that I’ve maintained? Have I restored integrity? Have I forgiven people? Have I let go of resentment? That’s what important and that’s what life is really made of, and what I hope people attend to.” 

“My religion is Jedi.”

About wanting to be princess Leia: “She was so courageous, and she was so powerful. I was like, yeah, that’s obviously like what women are! That’s obviously what women should do in the universe, and that’s obviously like what I’m going to be when I grow up.” 

“We talk about being “successful and miserable” and the transformational journey of being honest. We discuss the many Star Wars references and the influences books and movies and art had on Loretta from a very young age. I ask Loretta if we’re really meant to leave this planet, and if we can afford to make mistakes in space. 

“When we go to space, we will have to learn how to live sustainably in a closed ecosystem, and how and take care of everyone in our community and to care for ourselves so we are all honored, nurtured, and will help us back on our home world. Space is not s silver bullet. It does not fix us, but it IS an opportunity. I’m saying the most precious resource is the opportunity we have in space is to hit that restart. We can either squander that resource, and we can just do things the way we’ve always done them, or we can take advantage of that opportunity. We have one chance to restart fresh when we go to space. And I want to make sure we’ve done the thinking before we go, and that we make the most of it. 

About Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides

Having dreamed of space since she was a little girl, Loretta wants to use the power of space to shift our perspectives, connect us with each other and our home planet and become the kind of species we would be proud to send to the nearest star.

About The New Right Stuff book:  (Taken from the website)This book was written for you. It was created to support you in fulfilling what you came to Earth to do. It will take you on a hero's journey, to find your calling, to face your dark side, to be the person you have always wanted to be, to capture your dream and to return home to share the wisdom you have gained from your journey with others. We use space as a backdrop for the whole adventure. Why? Because I love space, many of you love space, and space is a powerful reminder of what we are capable of as a species. Space is also an inspiration for us each fulfilling our piece in creating what Buckminster Fuller called, "a world that works for everyone."  I invite you to continue your training here. We each have a unique mission. If you don't fulfill your mission, no one else can.

More about Loretta: Having studied astrobiology at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta has worked in the Astronaut Office in Houston Texas, done research on plant life in the Canadian Arctic with NASA, dove to the bottom of the ocean with Titanic Director James Cameron to film the IMAX “Aliens of the Deep,” floated weightless hundreds of times as a Flight Director for Zero Gravity Corporation, studied terraforming Mars with Dr. Chris McKay of NASA Ames, worked for the X Prize Foundation during the $10M winning Ansari X Prize flights in 2004, helped launch the Space Generation Advisory Council in 1999, and Co-Created Yuri’s Night, The World Space Party in 2001. Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides has been a Future Astronaut with Virgin Galactic since 2005.

She currently lives in the desert outside Los Angeles with her husband George and their two kids and leads leadership development training for Virgin Galactic staff as well as continuing to give talks and write to help people fulfill on what they came to Earth to do!

MORE with Loretta: 

Space Kind:

Yuri’s Night:

TED Talks: