She is Dr. Shawna Pandya, a Canada-based physician, who has turned famous overnight following news repoerts, mostly Indian print media, that she has been chosen for NASA's 2018 Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) program and soon join the league of Indian-origin astronauts such as Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
The Canadian Space Agency astronaut selection, she said, is ongoing and will be finalized this year.
A Press Trust of India report said she was not just a doctor and an astronaut but also an opera singer, an global champion in taekwondo and has trained with a Navy SEAL. While she would be inspiring millions of people across the world, with her work, she is all set to work on the various medical science and environmental experiments in space that includes projects like Physiological, Health and Environmental Observations in microgravity (PHEnOm) that forms a part of a larger Polar Suborbital Science in Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM) project. In a Facebook post, the 32-year-old said that although she once interned with NASA, she is no longer affiliated with them or the Canadian Space Agency.
Speaking about why she wants to become an astronaut, Shawna who has a master's in space sciences, had told CBC News, "When I was 10, I became obsessed with astronomy". While she trained in neurosurgery for a short period, her medical license is in general practice.
In her Facebook post, she clarifies, "I am not an opera singer; I have sang opera on stage once". Thereafter, she got her MD in Medicine from University of Alberta. Furthermore, she said that she less likely to fly compared to other members of their projects. She is also a competitive taekwondo athlete and has learnt French, Spanish and Russian. She has also spoken at TEDxEdmonton 2010, BIL2010, schools, conferences and workshops as far and wide as India, Scotland and South Korea. It also wrongly stated she was a neurosurgeon.