Handsome goodlooking astronaut? Fabulous!
April 23, 2009 § 2 Comments
Had it not for AXN’s The Duke, one programme I happened to watch some time ago on cable, I wouldn’t have known that there’s a hunky astronaut from Malaysia, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. What caught my attention was definitely that for a real-life astronaut he looked good, an enthusiastic guy that seemed genuinely nice and hard-working. And the best part is that he’s an orthopedic surgeon (somehow I get the impression that this specialty is the new “macho” of medicine). And.. did I mention that he looked good? He looks like he can star in Armageddon. Wikipedia mentioned that he’s a part time model, but I don’t know this is before or after he became a celebrity-astronaut.
He’s 35 years old, an orthopedic surgeon graduated from India (why India?), and conducted a research on board of Soyuz TMA-11 launched at 13:22 UTC, Wednesday, October 10, 2007. And check this out, he performed experiments on board the International Space Station relating to the characteristics and growth of liver cancer and leukemia cells, the crystallisation of various proteins and microbes in space. So, supposedly, it can lead to finding a cure for cancer (eventually). The mission was conducted on Ramadhan, so he did all the praying and fasting on board of the spacecraft.
Sounds too good to be true? Almost. Not to undermine the rigorous and difficult training and selection as astronaut, but departure of Malaysian astronaut in the spacecraft arose after Russia agreed to transport one Malaysian to the ISS as part of a multi-billion purchase of 18 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets by Malaysia. Dr Shukor was selected at the end of 18 months of training in Russia (he mentioned outbound training in Siberia!).
I’m sure that he will never have any trouble receiving appropriate appreciation from the government as well as academic institution, perhaps getting his Ph.D in no time.
However, after the Challenger disaster the deployment of commercial satellites like the Indonesian Palapa B-3 planned for the STS-61-H mission was canceled, thus the mission never took place. She’s a medical doctor, received a Master’s degree from the University of Indonesia in 1977, and the Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Osaka, Japan, in 1984 (at the age of 32 years old). From 1994 to 2000, she was head of the Department of Microbiology of the Medical Faculty of the University of Indonesia. From 2001 to 2002, she was a scholar in the Fulbright New Century Scholars Program.
I once watched an interview with Dr. Pratiwi. She said, once selected, an astronaut will always be an astronaut. You can never say that someone is an ex-astronaut. Like being a doctor. I can’t agree more. It’s not just marked by one trip to outer space, being one is a lifetime achievement, a remarkable accomplishment.
The Malaysian astronaut is now having the power of technology, media and publication is at its highest ability to communicate their achievement and finding. And for me this is an example for us to work harder, be confident, and to market our achievements.
It’s not just a matter of having brain and talent, it’s also having the environment capable of containing, nurturing and boosting your capabilities. I am doubtful that this kind of resourceful environment is easy to find in Indonesia.
The benefit of Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is being in the country that he is now, being where you can just be young, talented, fabulous, and take that advantage to accomplish something big not just for yourself but for your country and people. I humbly envy this.