Dr Shawna Pandya could be the third Indian woman to enter space


Dr Shawna Pandya could be the third Indian woman to enter space

She has been shortlisted for a 2018 space mission by NASA

By ELLE team  February 10th, 2017

An Indian-origin doctor has been shortlisted by NASA as part of its 2018 Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) programme. Canada-based Dr.Shawna Pandya could soon join the ranks of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams and become the third Indian woman to fly into space. The 32-year-old is one of the two participants, of the 3,200 who enrolled in the CSA programme, to be shortlisted for the mission.

“I am being trained as a citizen scientist and there are some 120 who would be part of the space mission. The experiments in bio-medicine and medical science along with physiological, health, and environmental observations in Microgravity (PHEnOM) are also part of it. The work is distributed among the participants,” she said in an interview with PTI. She further added that she is also working for a project called Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM) that studies the effects of climate change.

Pandya, who is currently in Mumbai, told Hindustan Times that while becoming an astronaut was her childhood dream, medicine became her passion. She is also a singer, author, international taekwon-do champion and even trained in Muay Thai with a Navy SEAL. “If you prioritise your passions and commitments, it’s wonderful how much you can achieve,” she said.