An Extraordinary Encounter: Conversing with a Citizen Scientist Astronaut Candidate

Rarely do we come across an opportunity as unique as the one our G8 EAL students recently had. They were given the chance to engage in a conversation with Dr. Norah Patten, an Irish aeronautical engineer, a globally recognized faculty member at the International Space University, a Citizen Scientist Astronaut Candidate at the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences, as well as an award-winning STEM advocate and author.

Having recently completed their unit on “A Life on Mars”, our students posed a range of questions to Dr. Patten, seeking insights into her expectations for space exploration, her future aspirations, and the underlying motivations driving her ambitions. In response, Dr. Patten shared her valuable perspectives, shedding light on the very questions our students had explored throughout the unit, such as the reasons behind humanity’s desire to explore Mars and the ethical considerations surrounding sending people on interplanetary missions.

Reflecting on this rare encounter, our students had much to say:

Alisa: “I agree with her on interstellar travel. As Dr. Patten said, we still don’t have the resources to travel to other galaxies or travel through the universe.”

Szymon: “I found it interesting that she said the mystery she wanted to find the truth about was whether there was life beyond Earth.”

This remarkable encounter with Dr. Norah Patten, the Citizen Scientist Astronaut Candidate, not only provided our students with an unparalleled experience but also enriched their understanding of the captivating field of space exploration. The authentic insights and personal experiences Dr. Patten shared shall continue to inspire our students as they embark on their own journeys of discovery.

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