Citizen-astronaut Shawna Pandya debunks reports that she was chosen for space mission


Correction appended.

Shawna Pandya, a 32-year-old Canadian-born doctor, denied media reports that she was selected for a mission that would make her the third woman of Indian heritage to go into space.

“There has been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions with respect to my work as a citizen-scientist astronaut,” Pandya wrote in a Facebook post following a flurry of media reports, including one from Women in the World, stating that she was headed to outer space. “I am no more or less likely to fly than any other member of than [sic] these projects than I was 24 hours ago,” she added.

“My work is separate from the work of the Canadian Space Agency and that of NASA, and should not be represented as such,” she clarified in the post. Pandya went on to debunk some other exaggerated claims that surfaced in the reports. She said she had trained to be a neurosurgeon, but that her work as a physician is as a general practitioner, and that while she’s dabbled in opera singing, she is not actually an opera singer.

Some of the details from the reporting on Pandya that are true include her remarks as a TedX speaker. During a video posted last year by TedX, Pandya talked about her work training to be a neurosurgeon and as a runway model, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and various roles she’s held for NASA and the European Space Agency. Watch that full speech below.

“I look forward to continuing my work as a physician, speaker and citizen-scientist astronaut and aquanaut,” Pandya wrote at the conclusion of her Facebook post, “and just as importantly, look forward to continuing my work with outreach and education about these projects.”

Read Pandya’s full Facebook post here.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the clarifications Pandya came forward with in her social media posts. Working from a report published by India Today, Women in the World originally published a story that suggested Pandya is a neurosurgeon, opera singer and was selected for a space mission that would take place in 2018. We regret the error.


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