Science & Nature

Swedish-Israeli NASA astronaut gets ready for her first trip into space – The Times of Israel

Swedish-Israeli NASA astronaut gets ready for her first trip into space – The Times of Israel

JTA — Jessica Meir has been preparing to go into space since the age of 5. She attended her first space camp after finishing middle school and a training program at the Kennedy Space Center following her sophomore year at Brown University. It took Meir three tries to be chosen for NASA’s highly selective astronaut…

JTA — Jessica Meir has been preparing to scuttle into dwelling for the reason that age of 5. She attended her first dwelling camp after finishing center college and a practising program at the Kennedy House Center following her sophomore one year at Brown University.

It took Meir three tries to be chosen for NASA’s extremely selective astronaut practising program, which she began in 2013 and from which she graduated two years later. Supreme month, NASA announced that Meir will seemingly be taking part in her first mission.

It restful feels surreal, she suggested the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a telephone interview from the Johnson House Center in Houston.


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“[When] I’m sitting on that rocket about to open, it’s genuinely going to be then that it will definitely objects in,” the 41-one year-frail astronaut acknowledged.

On Sept. 25, Meir will co-pilot a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launching from Kazakhstan with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka. They are going to seemingly be joined by Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates.

Meir, the daughter of a mom from Sweden and an Iraqi-Israeli father, holds Swedish and American citizenship. She will be able to be the first Swedish lady, the fourth Jewish lady and the 15th Jew total to be fragment of a dwelling mission.

The mission will scuttle to the World House Establish, where Meir will abolish a unfold of physiological, clinical and chemistry experiments to higher price the methods in which being in dwelling affects humans. Meir also hopes to enact some exploring outside the dwelling internet page.

“I’m very angry to guage part within the science. And likewise the different immense part in my belief, my dream has always been to scuttle for a spacewalk,” she acknowledged. “There’s never a guarantee — things can always change with the mission when we stand up there — nonetheless just precise now per the present thought I will seemingly be doing spacewalks as successfully.”

Meir prepares to be submerged in NASA’s 6.2 million gallon Unbiased Buoyancy Laboratory for spacewalk practising. (NASA/Josh Valcarcel)

Meir has spent the final one year preparing for the mission. That functions discovering out Russian and practising trips to Russia. She has drag on an anti-gravity treadmill frail to discontinuance muscle loss in dwelling. She’s had to analyze her meals consumption and there’s been a unfold of clinical tests.

She paperwork all of it on her Instagram page.

The youngest of 5 kids, Meir spent her childhood in Caribou, Maine, although her fogeys grew up some distance from there. Her slow father became born in Iraq nonetheless immigrated alongside with his family to prestate Israel as a younger miniature one, later fighting within the nation’s Battle of Independence in 1948. He went on to significantly change a doctor and judge a job in Sweden, where he met Meir’s mom, a nurse who became raised in a Christian Swedish family. The couple moved to Maine when Meir’s father became supplied a job there.

Though Meir’s mom did no longer convert, the family identified as Jewish and attended synagogue within the nearby town of Presque Isle. Dwelling in a mostly Christian town, Meir felt different at instances nonetheless did no longer journey anti-Semitism.

She says being Jewish is a extraordinarily significant fragment of her identity.

“In my belief I’m no longer genuinely a non secular person,” she acknowledged, “nonetheless I concentrate on that my Jewish cultural background is clearly a immense fragment of my custom and namely traditions.”

Astronauts are allowed to direct a preference of non-public objects to the World House Establish. Two amongst Meir’s choices: an Israeli flag and a pair of socks with menorahs. (She is a immense fan of novelty socks and might perchance perchance presumably encompass several pairs amongst her possessions headed for the acquire web mutter.)

Her piccolo, too. Meir, a tune lover who also plays the piano, flute and saxophone, settled on bringing the instrument on account of its small size.

Meir isn’t certain what precipitated her passion in dwelling traipse. As a piece one, she didn’t know someone who worked for NASA.

“Rising up, within the event you asked any of my childhood friends, or any of my college friends, or anyplace your entire procedure thru, other folks always talked about that with me, they always knew that became my part, that’s what I desired to enact,” she acknowledged.

As fragment of her postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia, Meir spent some time within the Antarctic studying a distinct variety of flight — that of the bar-headed goose. She had previously researched oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins within the Antarctic, so the topic wasn’t entirely off target.

One part that stands out to Meir about her mission is the world cooperation that made it doable, at the side of at the World House Establish, a joint mission of the dwelling businesses of the US, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada.

“To own that replacement to be living and dealing in Russia, and practising alongside the cosmonauts and launching with the Russians,” she acknowledged, “that to me, it’s genuinely somewhat incredible, namely given the climate this day.”

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