Remember when we all wanted to be astronauts? Little girls everywhere dreamt about going to the stars, crossing their fingers that one day they’d be able to step on the moon all by themselves. For most of us, the dream of discovering the unknown, being launched on a rocket and experiencing a lack of gravity remained just that, a dream. But for these space-bound trailblazers, working in space is an actual reality.
Deputy Program Manager for the NASA Radioisotope Power Systems
What are you most excited about? "Being a part of the journey. Seeing the vision materialize, developing the technologies to enable the vision, seeing all of the hard work come to fruition, and then finally, going! I was so proud to be a part of the team that took us back to the moon with Artemis I, and this is only the beginning! We have so much more to accomplish with landing humans back on the moon, landing the first person of color on the moon, landing the first woman on the moon, and all the science that will be enabled by having a human presence on the moon. In addition to the science, we’ll learn how to live and work on a lunar surface that will be extensible to a planetary surface like Mars. We are using the moon as a testbed to sending humans to Mars. As you can imagine, these are no small feats and it's going to take some time for us to prepare to be successful. It doesn’t happen overnight and there are bound to be disappointments as well as triumphs.
I am a firm believer that you have to enjoy the journey. You learn so much along the way. This is how character, knowledge, and wisdom are built. Savoring the journey makes our triumphs so much sweeter and grows our capacity to do even bigger and better things."
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "New discoveries are happening on Earth every single day. Earth is just one single planet in a solar system among trillions and trillions of stars in the universe that are sprinkled among billions of galaxies. Just imagine the possibilities this presents for exploration of our universe! We can develop and build the technologies that can take us farther and farther out into the Milky Way to enable us to conduct science in new unexplored regions. It is almost incomprehensible. The science we gain from our exploration teaches us about the origins of our planet, those in our solar system and the universe itself. We want to learn about the unknown and dream about the possibilities that are out there. It is such an exciting time!"
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "Be fearless. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, and instead, use it as an opportunity to challenge yourself. I would tell myself to think about: How can I bring my strengths to this new situation and have a positive impact on the outcome? How can I learn from failure and use it to better myself?"
Staff Astronomer at W. M. Keck Observatory
What are you most excited about? "I am most excited about deep explorations of solar system moons. Compared to deep space celestial bodies, the moons in our solar system are so close to us. There are ice, organic molecules, volcanos, and atmospheres on the moons, just waiting for us to explore and study in detail. Perhaps we don't have to look too far to find the answer to the origin of life as we know it."
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "Planetary science is a treasure box for us to dig deeper and reveal wonders. There’s still so much more to discover about our own solar system. Because the planets and their moons are so close to us, we can carry out very detailed studies and research about them."
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "Carry yourself with confidence, move forward slowly and steadily, and all will be well."
Co-Founder of Space Hero, the world’s first-ever global competition series where contestants compete for a $55-million, seven-day trip to space; the biggest prize ever awarded on TV.
What are you most excited about? "I have spent five years getting to know the space industry and I feel like I know with quite certainty: the future of space is 'access,' the future of space is us becoming a multi-planetary species, the future of space is more people understanding how to get into the space industry, how to travel in space, how to work in the space industry and the ancillary businesses. The future of space is incredibly vibrant, through global media, but fundamentally, the space industry is the most inaccessible industry in the world. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the business is that there are numerous companies right now, including Space Hero, that are working towards making space more accessible to the general public, making space more mainstream, and making access to space travel a common practice, similar to boarding a plane."
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "Space is actually not so mysterious at all. At its core, it is simply technical, complicated, and
scientific. If you want to immerse yourself in the space industry, it would be advantageous to have a knowledge of certain technological aspects like technical manufacturing, or the process involved in becoming an astronaut. Fortunately, there are many opportunities in ancillary businesses in and around the space industry. These novel industries are going to emit significant influence and increased accessibility, paving the way for the average individual to saturate their involvement in the space industry."
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "I would assure myself that I can achieve anything. I would advise my younger self to take more risks, much quicker, and make the risks even larger, because you cannot fail. Consistency, persistence, and passion are the themes that I live by. I am exceptionally proud to be integrated in a wonderful team of women that I work with; I have worked closely with some amazing mentors in my past, brilliant and competent women that have inspired me to always keep going, to never give up."
Kathryn J. Oriti
Deputy Manager of NASA Glenn Research Center
What are they most excited about? "I am most excited about sustained human presence in space and the cultural, scientific and technological advances that will come as a result."
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "Space is vast, beautiful, full of opportunity and the frontier of human knowledge. We peacefully explore space for everyone in order to learn about our origins, the Earth, the solar system, the universe, and our place in it."
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "I would tell myself to not fear imperfection and failures, rather to embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow."
Staff Scientist at the Canadian Space Agency
What are you most excited about? "Human exploration, the search for extraterrestrial life, and the evolution of our cosmology. I am equally excited about the human exploration of Mars, the Artemis program that is preparing us to go to Mars with moon missions, and new data from the James Webb Space Telescope about rocky Earth-like planets outside our solar system, and the origin and evolution of the universe."
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "Space exploration is just getting started. As a human, you are a part of the universe on a journey to understand itself. Your body is made of elements (hydrogen, oxygen, iron, etc.) that were forged either at the beginning of the universe or in stars, elements that are billions of years old. Now, they are sufficiently organized to organize other matter in turn to build telescopes and spaceships and detectors that are opening the universe to us."
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "Space is closer than you think! Enjoy the journey."
Engineer, Project Management at the Canadian Space Agency
What are you most excited about? "There are so many big things happening in space right now, commercialization of LEO, decommissioning of ISS and new space vehicles specifically designed to bring humans further into deep space. The most exciting for me and many Canadians, is the Artemis program! Led by NASA with international partners like the Canadian Space Agency, the program will establish the first long-term presence on the moon! Which we all know is only a stepping-stone to test equipment, spacecraft and survival techniques so that we can send humans to Mars. And to make things more exciting, the Canadian Space Agency will soon announce which Canadian Astronaut will be part of the Artemis II crew!"
What would you like everyone to know about outer space? "It’s amazing to see more and more people wearing space logos everyday! But do they really know just how far we’ve come, where we’re going, and how space technologies and science contribute to their everyday life? I challenge everyone to find at least two things they use everyday that come from space innovation. A tip! Check out 'Discover the Themes' on the Canadian Space Agency website and have a look!"
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be? "You know that thing you are scared to do? Do it and don’t be concerned about what other people think. Be authentically you."