Dr Shawna Pandya becomes the third woman astronaut of Indian-origin to travel into space
After Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, another Indian-origin astronaut is all set to make the nation proud.
Meet Dr. Shawna Pandya, a 32-year-old neurosurgeon who will fly to space with eight other astronauts in 2018. She became one of the two candidates to be shortlisted from 3,200 people enrolled in the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) programme.
Dr. Pandya, who works as a general physician in Canada’s Alberta University Hospital, is preparing for two space missions slated to take flight next year.
Dr. Pandya, who is currently visting home in Mumbai told Hindustan Times that her missions will include experiments in two fields – bio-medicine and medical science. As part of a project titled ‘Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM)’, she will study the effects of climate change, and also be a part of other undertakings.
Apart from medicine, Dr. Pandya has varied interests and hobbies – she is adept in opera singing, is an author, and a world-renowned taekwondo champion as well! She has even got training in Muay Thai with a Navy SEAL. Now, that’s impressive!
She says, “If you prioritise your passions and commitments, it’s wonderful how much you can achieve.” While speaking about the potential in people of this country, she added, “When I talk to students, medical undergraduates, I realise they have the zeal to venture out, but aren’t always aware of the ways in which they can. All we need is to get acquainted with everyday developments in science, be resilient and always try to achieve something bigger.”