Cosmic Goals: Dr. Jemison wants to change how we think about science “and remind people that we have a responsibility to one another and this planet.”
State of the Art: Before Dr. Jemison became an astronaut, she considered a career as a professional dancer. Ultimately, she chose to study medicine. She started as a medical officer for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia and practiced as a doctor in L.A. before going to work for NASA. Yet the arts never stopped playing an important role in her life. Phyllis Hyman, Stevie Wonder, and African drumming were her go-to soundtracks while she was in space. “People are readily identified as being left-brained or right-brained, but I want to be identified as using my entire brain.”
Culture Trek: The astronaut’s big Hollywood moment came in 1993 when she made a guest appearance as a lieutenant on Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of her favorite sci-fi shows. “Star Trek is one of our best fantasies because it uses science in a way that examines social issues,” she says. Lego also created a figurine in Dr. Jemison’s honor. And now she serves as a scientific adviser on National Geographic’s documentary and science fiction series Mars. “Life is really full,” she says. “You can find lots of things to stay curious, excited, and accepting.”
Mars Season 2 premieres on Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET.
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