(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A former astronaut who is a veteran of five space flights on Monday said that travelling on Earth to share her experience with students around the world has changed her in more ways than her space missions.
"People ask me how my experience in space changed me, but my travels on Earth have changed me," former US astronaut Marsha Ivins told reporters yesterday.
"In the United States, we don't take the trouble to go to places we don't understand, so it has been very humbling for me to meet people who have the same questions as me," she said.
Ivins, who concluded a visit to the Kingdom on Monday, has been travelling around the world to deliver lectures about her experience as a NASA astronaut through a US State Department educational outreach programme.
During her visit to Jordan, hosted by the US embassy in Amman, she spoke to school and university students in Aqaba, Maan, Tafileh, Irbid, Mafraq and Amman about space travel and research.
Ivins is scheduled to head to Bahrain next as part of a regional tour.
Having spoken to students in several countries, from China to Jordan, she said the audiences "all laugh at the same things [and] are in awe at the same things".
"This has shown me that people are the same all over the world," Ivins noted during a meeting with reporters yesterday.
The former astronaut, who spent over 1,318 hours in space, said she seeks "to show students around the world things that are possible in their future" and give them a glimpse of the opportunities that they have, which will encourage them to study science.
She said all her presentations in Jordan were received with enthusiasm and interest.
Ivins, who graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, retired from the US space agency, NASA, in 2010.
Her first space mission was in 1990 and her last in 2001.