After an astounding career, Peggy Whitson is now a retired Nasa Astronaut. She holds the American record for most time spent in space at 665 days. She is also the world’s most experienced spacewoman and spacewalker (50 plus), at age 57. She was also honored as the 2017 Glamour’s Woman of the year, and in March of 2018 she graced the cover of National Geographic, one of just a few of her many honors and awards.
Recently, I’ve watched the excellent National Geographic series “One Strange Rock” which features many in the astronaut program, Peggy being one of them. That’s what peaked my attention about her and what the space program has discovered of the “blue planet” from out in space. Her Doctorate is in biochemistry. She also holds the distinction of being the first female commander of the space station. Her inspiration is in the letter she penned to her 9-year-old-self, below, and my reason to feature her. Inspiration is everywhere we look. We just need the right lenses and reminders of what to look for.
Astronaut Peggy Whitson returned from the International Space Station in September after a 288-day mission. Whitson has spent more time in space than any other American. While in orbit, the 57-year-old biochemist started writing a letter to her 9-year-old self. She finished it back home in Houston at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for our series, “Note to Self.”
Dear Younger Me,
I’ve learned a few things over the years that I would like to share with the younger version of myself.
You just watched on TV as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Although at the time, it was an unbelievable moment in history, seeing it with your own eyes made it real and believable and achievable. It made you feel small, but filled you with excitement. That moment in time planted a seed of inspiration in you. Now, it’s up to you to nourish that seed and grow it into more than just a dream.
Next year your dad will get his private pilot’s license. You will get your very first ride in an airplane. The exhilarating view of the cornfields from above will inspire you to fly as well. However, it will take several years of raising and selling chickens to earn enough money to take your own flying lessons. But just remember, learning to fly with that chicken money will be the first step toward a higher purpose. Because one day, you will become a real space explorer.
What would you tell your 9-year-old-self? What are your dreams?