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A physician, public speaker, author, Taekwondo champion, aquanaut and now a citizen scientist astronaut.
Meet 32-year-old Shawna Pandya.
Dr Pandya who traces her roots to Mumbai in India is all set to become the third woman astronaut of India-origin after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams to participate in a space mission. She has been shortlisted after she topped the Citizen Science Astronaut program that had over three thousand participants for a space mission slated to take off in 2018.
Shawna says it was her passion since childhood to be an astronaut. She also trained in neurosurgery for a short period and has a medical licence for general practice. She has also interned with NASA's Johnson Space Centre.
Born in Canada, she also trained in Muay Thai with a US Navy SEAL.
Shawna says it’s about prioritising your passions and commitments.
“If you prioritise your passions and commitments, it’s wonderful how much you can achieve,” she told Hindustan Times while visiting her family in Mumbai.
Her role in the mission will be separate from the work of the Canadian Space Agency and that of NASA. On the space mission, she will be a part of the project to study the effects of climate change.
She will also work on Physiological, health and environmental observation in microgravity.
She is also a part of a 100-day underwater mission at the Aquarius Space Research Facility in Florida.
Earlier this week, during her visit to Mumbai she addressed school students in the city.
“On Tuesday, I met students from Lilavatibai Podar High School. The questions they asked me were brilliant, right from zero-gravity experiences to outer space,” she told Hindustan Times.
“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,” she added.
Listen to her talk on success, failure, resilience and pushing the limits.