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A Big-picture View from History Making Astronaut Jessica Meir
In 2019 NASA astronaut Jessica Meir participated in the first all-female spacewalk, an historic honor she’s still processing now that she’s back on earth. Jessica always wanted to be an astronaut andrecalls a time in first grade when she drew a picture of an astronaut on the surface of the moon to signify what she wanted to be when she grew up! In this conversation with Women on the Move’s Sam Saperstein, Jessica explains what it was like to be up in space when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and why spacewalks are so challenging, both physically and mentally.
An Explorer of Space, Sea, and Ice
In addition to being a fully trained astronaut, Jessica is a marine biologist whose previous job involved working in the Antarctic. She points out that there’s a parallel between the extreme environments of space and the South Pole, and says that her entire career is built around understanding the world around her.
As she’s proven again and again, Jessica is more than willing to undergo rigorous training and testing to follow the path of the modern-day explorer. She spent most of her time preparing for the 2019 space flight at the Gagarin cosmonaut training center, about an hour outside of Moscow, in a town called Star City. As she tells Sam, this facility is not on any map. During the Cold War and the Space Race, Russia wanted this city hidden from American eyes, and Jessica was thrilled to have the chance to learn and train there.
Listen to the full conversation to hear more about life in orbit, and why Jessica smiled for the full seven months she spent away from her home planet.