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FAQs/Fun Facts

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew in kindergarten that I wanted to be a scientist.  I also wanted to be a dancer, an architect and a fashion designer.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to do all kinds of things! I love to read all sorts of books. Fiction, science fiction, and adventures are my favorite! I love to dance and exercise, lift weights and play volleyball. I also enjoy cooking, watching movies, listening to music, gardening and traveling!

Who most inspired you in your life?

My mother and father, siblings, teachers, uncles and aunts, next door neighbors and friends, because I knew them day-to-day. Each one of their characters and values taught me something about life. My mother taught me the importance of lifelong learning and intellectual challenge. Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in 1952 in Biochemistry and again in 1961, is a scientist who helped me know the importance of exploration and discovery, but also social responsibility.

How long did your mission last on the STS-47 Spacelab J flight?

Eight (8) days. We traveled over 3 million miles around the earth on the space shuttle Endeavour.

What does a mission specialist do?

Before each space flight, scientists at NASA and different universities design experiments to conduct in space to determine if/how the results will differ from when on land. Mission specialists are responsible for conducting these experiments, doing the space walks and launching satellites.

Were you afraid in space?

No, I was too excited to be afraid! I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.

What does it look like in outer space?

Once in orbit, on the night side of the earth, the shuttle is surrounded by darkness, the sky is filled with stars and there was a beautiful glow surrounding the earth beneath us. Once you travel to the dayside of earth, it is bright outside. It takes 90 minutes to travel completely around the earth.

Can you tell me more about your personal life/experiences?

Well, if you must know, I am single and I do not have children. But if you want the real scoop on my life’s experiences, look for my new autobiography Find Where the Wind Goes in bookstores.

What advice would you give to the youth of today?

Life is full of adventures. Some of them will be more demanding than others, but they all teach us about the world and ourselves along the way. Learn from your experiences – they shape who you become.

Don’t limit yourself due to other people’s limited imaginations. And don’t limit others due to your own limited imagination.