An aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first Irish woman in space lives on just $167 a week in order to save for her goal.
Dr. Niamh Shaw, a former actress, first dreamed of going to space when she was a child growing up in Dundalk, Co Louth. The scientist and engineer has spent the past five years of her live preparing for space travel.
She has already embarked on a number of challenges including a zero-gravity flight at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow and two weeks spent in the US simulating life inside a human colony on Mars, The Irish Sun reports.
According to her website, she explores “crossovers in STEM, art & communication to share the human story of science” but her life’s mission is “to get to space as artist and citizen.”
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"I’m ages away from getting to space, it’s a massive undertaking but it’s about the journey and that’s what I’m interested in more,” she said.
"Astronauts are very unique people and there are very few of them in the world for a reason. For an everyday kind of person trying to achieve that, it’s very, very difficult.
"I’m enjoying it though and relishing it. I did a lot of activities last year like the Mars missions and I witnessed launches but there are much bigger things that I need to explore.
"I tell myself even on the hard days that I’m still here and I’m still trying. It’s a genuine desire of mine to do it.”
Shaw travels to schools around Ireland to talk to children about her journey.
“What I’m trying to teach kids is, don’t worry about your dreams sounding so silly. Culturally it’s easier now to be anything you want to be. In my day growing up, it was always just about getting a job, any job.
“There is a space industry in Ireland you don’t have to be an astronaut to be part of that strategy. You don’t have to have a financial background, or a science background, there’s place for everyone in the space race.”
Trying to think of something fun the whole family can enjoy? Well we've got you covered. Join us in November when for #BakingInSpace hosted by @Dr_Niamh_Shaw and @cakesmyth and allow them to teach the whole family about the wonders of baking in space! https://t.co/gNf5pmIufu pic.twitter.com/tKX1aSENlP— British Council (@ieBritish) November 1, 2019
The Irish government launched the country’s first National Space Strategy earlier this year.
Shaw is also working on a new show called “Baking in Space,” which will teach families about space and science through baking demonstrations, experiments and talks about space. The show will take place during Science Week in Dublin, Galway, and Cork on November 11,12, and 13 respectively.
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“I want families to have a really positive experience so that they go home and talk more about science and space and they have this memory that they did something together that was about science,” she said.
“Hopefully that will imbed a new way of communicating space and science at home and that it might become a family activity.”
For more information on "Baking in Space", visit britishcouncil.ie/events/baking-space-dublin