Abigail Harrison

Interview With Abigail Harrison – Astronaut Abby

7th Confab With CosmosNow

Abigail Harrison, popularly known as Astronaut Abby, is an American advocate for STEAM Education. She is a scientist, internet personality, public speaker, writer, science communicator and best known as an aspiring astronaut with a goal to be the first person to set foot on Mars.

CosmosNow – Hello Abby! We are really honoured to have you on the 7th Confab with CosmosNow. We are really excited to get some amazing and inspiring answers from you.

Abigail Harrison – Sure, that sounds fun. Thank you CosmosNow for letting me indulge! I’m really excited to answer your questions.

CosmosNow – What inspired you to become an astronaut?

Abigail Harrison – I’ve dreamt of becoming an astronaut my entire life. One of my earliest memories is from when I was about 4 or 5 years old, staring up at the night sky with absolute fascination, and dreaming of someday exploring it. As I grew older my drive and passion to become an astronaut only grew stronger!

CosmosNow – Please tell us about your non-profit organization ‘The Mars Generation’ and what inspired you to create it?

Abigail Harrison – The Mars Generation is a 501c3 non-profit that focuses on educating the public on the importance of space exploration and STEM education, inspiring and supporting the next generation to achieve great things, such as going to Mars! My co-founder and I started The Mars Generation after years of pioneering STEM education and space/ science communication through social media.

CosmosNow – What do you like most about space and why?

Abigail Harrison – My favorite thing about space is how little we know about it. We’ve barely even dipped our toes into the universe! There is so much left to explore and discover through space travel.

CosmosNow – What made you so excited about Mars?

Abigail Harrison – Mars is truly the next frontier for human space exploration. It’s the perfect challenge just hard enough to truly push our limits, but not unattainable. It is through challenges like these that we advance not only space exploration but humanity as a whole. I chose to dedicate my life to this advancement.

CosmosNow – What drew you to strive to become the first astronaut to step on mars?

Abigail Harrison – I’ve always been an explorer. I believe that deep down we’re all explorers- it’s part of what makes us human. As a kid, this spirit of discovery drew my interest in exploring Mars, and that passion never left me as I grew older. To me, striving to become the first astronaut on Mars is about advancing humanity’s future, breaking barriers, and inspiring a whole generation.

CosmosNow – Please share your experience when you met Astronaut Luca for the first time.

Abigail Harrison – I first met Astronaut Luca in an airport when I was 13 years old. When I approached him and told him of my dreams to become an astronaut, the first astronaut on Mars, and my passion for STEM communication, he offered to sit down with me and talk. We ended up talking for about an hour until he had to depart for his flight, during which Luca answered my questions, validated my dreams, and gave me inspiring advice for my future. At the end, he offered me his email address and said “Here is my email if you have any more questions, email me. I will be your astronaut.” This meeting was truly life-changing for me.

CosmosNow – If it was somehow possible to visit any other planet in our solar system where would you like to go beside Mars?

Abigail Harrison – Rather than visiting another planet, I would actually like to visit another planet’s moon! The moons of Jupiter- specifically the four largest moons (known as the Galilean Satellites)- are chock full of discovery and potential! It’s very likely that the uniquely immense gravity of Jupiter has created a miniature habitable zone in which these moons reside, allowing for a subsurface liquid ocean to exist. And where there’s water… there might be extraterrestrial life!

CosmosNow – If not astronaut which career path you’d like to pursue?

Abigail Harrison – Well, before I even apply to become an astronaut I expect to have a robust career as a research scientist. I’m especially interested in astrobiology, planetary geophysics, and marine biology.

CosmosNow – Any advice for young children who aspire to become an astronaut.

Abigail Harrison – Be loud and proud about your dreams! You never know who might be able to help you achieve them unless you’re vocal. Additionally, others won’t even know that they can help or support you on your big journey unless you tell them about your dream.

CosmosNow – What’s your advice for girls who want to pursue a career in STEM?

Abigail Harrison – My best piece of advice for girls interested in STEM is to expect failure. Not in the long run, because I fully believe in your success, but along the way. STEM is filled to the brim with failure and mistakes- in fact, failure is an important part of the scientific process! I think that’s part of what drives girls away from STEM fields girls are raised to pursue perfection and avoid failure to a greater extent than boys are. In a field where failure is a necessity, the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for success is to anticipate failure and celebrate it instead of being dissuaded by it!

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Next Interview: Interview With Terry Virts – Former NASA Astronaut

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