• Dr Shawna Pandya To Be The 3rd Indian-Origin Woman To Fly To Space

    Yet another woman with roots in India is set to take off for a space flight. Meet Canada-based neurosurgeon Dr Shawna Pandya, who’s soon to script history as the third Indian-origin woman to fly to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita WilliamsHindustan Times reported.

    Dr Pandya is a general physician at Canada’s Alberta University Hospital. But her latest stint is to fly on at least two space missions wearing an astronaut’s gear. With this new feat, she will be marching to the space as the third woman of Indian origin — on missions to fly.

    Pandya, who was born in Canada, is currently visiting her family in Mumbai. While medicine was her career choice, Pandya begun dreaming about flying at the age of 10 when it became an obsession for her.

    “All my high science projects, they were all space related,” she told CBC News.

    When she opted for neuroscience in medicine, there was a reason behind her decision. She was inspired by the first Canadian woman in space, Roberta Bondar, who later became a neuro-opthalmologist.

    Earlier, Pandya had also been shortlisted as one of two candidates from 3,200 people when she topped the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) program.

    With the new achievement, the 32-year-old will fly with eight other astronauts in space missions, scheduled to take off by 2018.

    The multi-talented Pandya is also an opera singer, author, international taekwon-do champion and has 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 told HT.

    While in space, Pandya will be in charge of conducting experiments in bio-medicine and medical science. She will also accompany some eminent astronauts in exploring the project of Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere, a study on the subject of the effects of climate change.

    Pandya is also prepared to work on Physiological, Health, and Environmental Observations in Microgravity, and joining the team of the Project Poseidon, a 100-day underwater mission at the Aquarius Space Research Facility in Florida.

    In Mumbai, Dr Pandya is playing the role being a motivator for doctors and students who aspire to be like her one day. She has been attending a series of motivational talks in the city in believing to be a living demonstration of the saying – ‘willing and able’.

    Also Read: Mission to Mars: NASA’s Women Astronauts set to fly to the red planet

    “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,” Pandya said.

    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,” while appreciating the potential Indians do have.

    WATCH Dr. Shawna Pandya’s Speech On Success, Failure, and Pushing the Limits:

    We salute you Shawna Pandya!!

    Also Read: The Woman On A Moon Mission: Meet Sheelika Ravishankar

    Feature Image Credit: HT

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