CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – The first Native American woman in space said Wednesday she is overwhelmed by the beauty and delicacy of Mother Earth, and is channeling “positive energy” as her five-month mission gets underway.
NASA astronaut Nicole Mann said from the International Space Station that she’s received lots of prayers and blessings from her family and tribal members. Mann is a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Northern California.
She showed off the dream catcher she took up with her, a childhood gift from her mother that she’s always held dear. She said it has given her strength during challenging times.
“It’s the strength to know that I have the support of my family and community back home and that when things are difficult or things are getting hard or I’m getting burned-out or frustrated, that strength is something that I will draw on to continue toward a successful mission,” Mann told The Associated Press, which gathered questions from members and tribal news outlets across the country.
Mann, 45, a Marine colonel who was born in Petaluma, California, said it’s important to recognize there are all types of people aboard the space station. It’s currently home to three Americans, three Russians and one Japanese astronaut.
“What that does is it just highlights our diversity and how incredible it is when we come together as a human species, the wonderful things that we can do and that we can accomplish,” she said.
Mann rocketed into orbit with SpaceX on Oct. 5.