Indian-origin astronaut Shawna Pandya has clarified that she will not be part of the next NASA mission. 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.
"There has been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions with respect to my work as a citizen-scientist astronaut with Project Possum or The PHEnOM Project," she wrote. "I am no more or less likely to fly than any other member of than these projects than I was 24 hours ago."
Pandya had made headlines after reports that she was the third-ever Indian-origin woman to be chosen for a NASA mission. Earlier, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams were chosen for separate NASA space missions.
"In light of the many many media reports and interviews over the past 24 hours, I would just like to make a few clarifications about my work and qualifications," she wrote, "as I have noticed more than a few misstatements."
She clarified that the Canadian Space Agency astronaut selection was ongoing and that she was not part of it. She has also clarified that she is neither a neurosurgeon or an opera singer. While she trained in neurosurgery, her medical license is in general practice. She also wrote that she had sang opera in stage once, but it did not make her an opera singer.
Pandya is currently working as a citizen-scientist astronaut at Colorado-based Project Possum, where she studies and educates "the public about noctilucent clouds (night clouds) in the upper mesosphere."
She is also currently working at the Sea Space Exploration & Research Society where she is training as an "extreme environment scientist with a focus on extreme environment medicine and life sciences."
Read her full statement below:
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