She is Dr. Shawna Pandya, a Canada-based physician, who has turned famous overnight following news repoerts, mostly Indian print media, that she has been chosen for NASA’s 2018 Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) program and soon join the league of Indian-origin astronauts such as Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
Every media house has bought the story and some went ahead to state that she was an opera singer and dreamed of becoming astronaut since childhood. Quoting her in their reports, most of the media outlets shared gleefully their additions about her while some reporters even added quotes to her, which she had denied 24 hours later.
After barraging questions from Indian media, she took to her Facebook and posted a clarification that she was not selected by NASA nor did she an opera singer. She said her work is separate from the work of Canadian Space Agency and NASA. Yes she did undergo internship with NASA, Johnson Space Centre to be precise, in the past but she no longer has any affiliation with either of these two organizations and the recent media reports were misguided entirely.
She also said the Canadian Space Agency astronaut selection is ongoing on that will be finalized this year but she is never part of the selection. She further stated that she does hold a medical license in general practice but never a neurosurgeon, as some have reported.
"I look forward to continuing my work as a physician, speaker and citizen-scientist astronaut and aquanaut, and just as importantly, look forward to continuing my work with outreach and education about these projects," she said in her post.