Earthview2

"When I First Saw Earth"

Anoushesh Ansari is the world's first female private space explorer, as well as the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Today, in a Big Think interview (conducted in partnership with the DLD conference in Munich), she shares a poetic recollection of her most exciting moment in orbit: looking out and seeing "life emanating against the deep background of space."

When asked about her most frightening moment, however, Ansari demurs, explaining that years of intense preparation made her cool as a cucumber. Sound like an experience you'd want to share? She has good news for you: as a member of the family that sponsors the Ansari X Prize for private spacecraft launches, she reports that we will likely see commercial space flights as soon as 2012, with costs dropping and "an industry being created" thereafter.

As a boundary-breaking explorer, Ansari also describes the message she hopes her space flight sends to women—and men—in the Middle East, and voices her support for the ongoing anti-establishment protests in Iran.

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