First Lady Meets

With Sniper Victim

* The sniper's youngest victim made his first public appearance yesterday.

Iran Brown, 13, took first lady Laura Bush on a tour of Children's Hospital, where he spent a month fighting for his life after the shooting outside his Bowie middle school.

Smiling shyly, the eighth-grader accompanied Bush and her Scottish terrier, Barney, on the first lady's annual holiday visit to the Washington hospital.

"You look like you're doing great. Bless you, darling," Bush told the teen.

"I'm fine," Iran told The Post before the tour. He wore a large silver cross. His family says his Christian faith helped him get better.

Iran's mother, Lisa Brown, said the family is planning a special Christmas at Disney World in Florida, and that Iran hopes to return soon to Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie.

Iran got out of the hospital before Thanksgiving, but goes back twice a week so doctors can check on his recovery.

Teacher Headed to Space

* Barbara Morgan will rocket into orbit next year to become the first educator-astronaut to fly in space, NASA announced yesterday.

Morgan, 51, and five other astronauts are scheduled to go to the international space station in November. (NASA had assigned Morgan to a mission for 2004.)

Morgan now does a variety of jobs, including sending instructions to orbiting astronauts.

Teacher Christa McAuliffe and her six crewmates died in 1986 when the shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch.

"Christa was, is and always will be our first teacher in space," said Morgan, who was McAuliffe's backup for that ill-fated flight. "I'm really looking forward to all the other teachers who will be flying for education in the years to come."

Before becoming a full-time astronaut in 1998, Morgan taught second-, third- and fourth-graders in Idaho.

NASA wants to get teachers interested in working in space to attract more students to math, science and engineering. But just as McAuliffe originally planned, Morgan and other teachers will one day be "teaching from space," the head of NASA said.

-- From staff reports

Iran Brown meets with first lady Laura Bush at Children's Hospital.