This article appeared in the January 16, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Why NASA’s graduating class inspires hope

Bill Ingalls/NASA
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, seen July 9, 2019, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, says space is where humanity tends to “agree” and “unite” even during our disagreements on this planet.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

Space is a reminder of infinite possibilities, a frontier that gives us an opportunity to shatter our Earth-bound assumptions.

Let’s take a moment to look at Maj. Jasmin “Jaws” Moghbeli. She’s a jarhead – a Marine – a helicopter combat pilot, and a graduate of the latest class of NASA astronauts. That’s an elite group of just 11 people culled from 18,000 applicants.

Born in Germany to Iranian parents, Major Moghbeli’s family moved to New York when she was 8 months old. She graduated from MIT with an aeronautical engineering degree. She joined the Marines in 2005, flew 150 combat missions in Afghanistan, and later became a test pilot. 

NASA classmate Jonny Kim describes her as dependable, resilient, and fierce, in short, “the perfect crewmate I’d go into the void of space with.”

Major Moghbeli told Agence France-Presse that space is where humanity tends to “agree” and “unite” even during our disagreements on this planet. She points to the International Space Station, where Russia and the United States have worked together for two decades. 

What’s next for Major Moghbeli? She could serve on the space station, NASA’s Artemis 2024 moon mission, or a Mars mission.

Consider this: The first woman to step on the moon could be an Iranian American.

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This article appeared in the January 16, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 01/16 edition