(Video link here.) This video of Sunita “Sunny” Williams giving a tour  of the International Space Station came via our new friend and prolific idea-generator Susan Dworski, with this note:

Totally astonishing. Have no idea how to use. Polar opposite from chairs made of dowels. Maybe you could compare and contrast somehow? Every kid should see this: What math and science and engineering can accomplish. Long, but do watch to the end.

The video IS long but mesmerizing to watch. You can jump in anywhere and see something amazing, including a magical vicarious experience of zero gravity and the extraordinary technology of the space station. Williams’ clear enjoyment and ease with the whole experience is curiously uplifting (and dig that zero gravity hair!) 

Sunita Williams

Williams’ own story is quite something. Of Indian ancestry, she was raised in Ohio and aspired to be a veterinarian until brother attended the U.S. Naval Academy and suggested she consider it. She became a helicopter pilot, served on many missions and eventually was selected for the astronaut program (having applied twice), becoming Commander of Expedition 33. Her advice:

Don’t let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t do it.’ That’s the biggest thing — I had one squad commander [tell me]: ‘Being an astronaut is for jet pilots, not for helicopter pilots.’

If you know that’s what you want, you’ve just got to go for it. You do the best you can do at what you’re doing, and find out what you need to do to get in this field.

 ….Enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll naturally do well at it, and if the opportunity to be an [astronaut] comes up, it’s just a bonus.

Fine advice for anybody. We wish we’d had it when we were really young. As Susan Dworski writes:

First day of third grade when math and science suddenly become real. Every little girl wondering what it’s all about, and why, should take a look at Sunny’s spacewalk in the orbiting Space Station.  She did it. So can you.

little girls and the wonder of science

Sunita Williams’ bio details from this interview at Space.com. Her Wikepedia entry will knock you out!

Thanks a million, Susan!

Related posts: what happens if you say ‘yes, and…’ (instead of ‘no’)?
how to be an explorer of the world
practicing yes
tina fey’s 4 1/2 rules (in 4 1/2 minutes)
fly around the earth!
come along for a ride into space

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