Wild Ideas Worth Living: Shannon Walker

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Shannon Walker on how to become an astronaut and gain new perspectives.

Shannon Walker first dreamed of becoming an astronaut in the 1960s. After getting her undergraduate degree in physics and her Masters of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy in Space Physics, she got her start with the Rockwell Space Operations Company at the Johnson Space Center in 1987 as a robotics flight controller for the space shuttle program. In 2004, she was selected to be a part of NASA, and six years later she served as a flight engineer for a long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Not only did Shannon need to know how to work a spacecraft, but she had to know how to do it in Russian.

Shannon’s wild idea: To work for NASA and spend months aboard the international space station.

In addition to spending time far above the earth, she has also spent time below sea level as an aquanaut on the NEEMO, an underwater space station. She also loves the outdoors and has seen earth from a rare perspective so I was excited to get her thoughts on how the planet and the environment are changing.

Shannon and I discussed how she became an astronaut (which I think most people dream about as kids) and she shared her advice for anyone who wants to work at NASA or who wants to go to outer space. We also talked about overcoming rejection, the excitement that comes from actually learning about science and how there is so much to explore here on earth.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You have ever wanted to go to space.
  • You’re interested in getting a new perspective on our planet.
  • You are focused on achieving a huge, long-term goal and need some inspiration.

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