NASA inspiration for young South African scientists

Astronaut Dr Don Thomas.

Former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Dr Don Thomas will be returning to South Africa for
the Living Maths Space Tour 2018 and will be speaking at Kirstenhof Primary School on Sunday September 16, from 6pm to 7.30pm.

During his 20-year tenure with NASA, including four historic shuttle missions, Dr Thomas logged over 1 040 hours of adventuring in space and completed 692 orbits of the Earth.

His inaugural mission aboard the STS-65 Columbia in July 1994 set a new flight duration record for the US Space
Shuttle programme with 236 orbits of the Earth and 6.1 million miles travelled, in 353 hours and 55 minutes..

Steve Sherman, chief imagination officer at NGO Living Maths, says: “After witnessing the excitement and curiosity that Dr Thomas’ last visit sparked about space, we wanted to bring him back, to spread that enthusiasm to more parts of the country. This is a unique opportunity to inspire young South Africans about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), and hopefully ignite lifelong passions in these subjects.”

Dr Thomas’ “Living and Working in Space” presentation takes the audience on his journey to becoming an astronaut and allows them to share the fun and excitement of being in space, focusing on the thrills of launch, how astronauts eat, sleep, and exercise, the infamous space ablutions, and sharing the beauty and fragility of our planet that he
experienced and saw first-hand while orbiting the Earth.

“From the age of 6 years old, I knew I wanted to be an Astronaut, but NASA declined my application to the space programme four times before I was accepted. I’m grateful to now be one of only 550 humans to have flown in space and feel a responsibility to share my story and experiences. My story is proof that perseverance pays off and I want to pass on the gift of big dreams to young people. With space tourism and travel to Mars becoming more of a reality, I hope to inspire South African youth to follow in my footsteps and perhaps become future Mars explorers,” says Dr Thomas.

Tickets cost from R60 to R80 and can be bought through Quicket. For more information on the
Living Maths Space Tour 2018 visit