Shawna Pandya, an Indian-origin astronaut, has denied news reports that said she was shortlisted by NASA for its 2018 space mission under the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) programme. In a Facebook post, Pandya clarified that her work was separate from the work of the Canadian Space Agency and that of NASA.
“There has been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions with respect to my work as a citizen-scientist astronaut with Project Possum or The PHEnOM Project. I am no more or less likely to fly than any other member of than these projects than I was 24 hours ago,” Pandya wrote on Facebook. She however remains a crew member in the work of both projects.
She added that while the astronaut selection at the Canadian Space Agency was going on, she was not a part of the selection.
“While I have previously interned at NASA-Johnson Space Center, I have no current affiliation with either organization, and would like to clarify that any reports or articles claiming as such are mistaken,” she wrote.
In what she described as ‘more than a few misstatements’ in the media, the astronaut also made it clear in the Facebook post that she was neither a neurosurgeon nor an opera singer. Her medical license is in general practice and she has sung opera ‘on stage once.’
“…just as boxing once does not a boxer make, neither does that one event make me an opera singer,” Pandya wrote.
(An earlier version of this article, attributing other media reports, had wrongly stated that Shawna Pandya had been shortlisted for a NASA program. It also wrongly stated she was a neurosurgeon and an opera singer. The errors are regretted.)