Anousheh Ansari Explores Space


Crew of Soyuz TMA-9: Astronaut Michael E. Lopez-Alegria (left), Anousheh Ansari (middle) and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin
Victor Zelentsov/NASA via Wikipedia

Would you want to travel into space? Liz Waid and Adam Navis look at one of the first space tourists: Anousheh Ansari.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“Weightlessness. It is this wonderful feeling of freedom. It puts a smile on everyone’s face. I slowly lifted off my seat. L.A. took his glove off and it started floating in the cabin. I could not stop laughing the whole time. I was finally able to look outside and saw the Earth for the first time. Tears started rolling down my face. Here was this beautiful planet turning gently about itself. It was so peaceful, so full of life. There were no signs of war, no signs of borders, no signs of trouble - just pure beauty. How I wished everyone could experience this feeling in their heart.”

Voice 1 

This is Anousheh Ansari’s blog about her first day in outer space. Ansari travelled on a space ship. But she is not an astronaut. She is not an expert in exploring space. She is not a scientist. She is a traveller, who paid for her trip. She is one of the first space tourists in the world. Ansari was the first woman to ever do this. And she was the first Iranian to go into space. Today’s Spotlight is on Anousheh Ansari’s adventures in space and on earth.

Voice 2 

When Anousheh Ansari was 16 years old, her family moved from Iran to the United States. She did not speak any English at this time. But Ansari learned quickly and did well in school. She earned degrees in computer engineering and electrical engineering. After graduating she began a business with her husband and his brother. Ansari was the CEO and chairperson of Telecom Technologies. This telecommunications company was very successful. Ansari then went on to start a new company called Prodea Systems.

Voice 1 

Anousheh Ansari is a very successful business woman. But she is known around the world for something else. She has travelled into space! In September, 2006 Ansari put on a special space suit. It had the flags of the United States and Iran on it. She travelled with other astronauts to the International Space Station or ISS. This is a satellite that goes around the earth. Astronauts from the United States and cosmonauts from Russia live on the ISS. Ansari stayed there for 10 days. She told the online magazine Space:

Voice 3 

“It was not a special moment that I just knew this is what I wanted to do. It was something that has been in my heart and a part of me. I was always interested in space and I always wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to experience flying into space myself.”

Voice 2 

Ansari had the chance to do this as a “space tourist.” Ansari does not like the word “space tourist” though. “Tourist” does not sound serious, but Ansari worked very hard to prepare for her space travel. She trained for six months in Russia. She had to learn Russian. She also had to learn how to travel in a space ship. Astronauts must train for many years to be able to operate space ships. Ansari had to learn enough to spend 10 days in outer space. Actions that are very simple on earth become complex in space. This is because there is no gravity in space. Everything floats, and becomes weightless.

Voice 1 

While Ansari was on the ISS she wrote about her life there. She was the first person to write a blog from outer space. She wrote many messages about her experiences. This was a way to teach people on earth about life on the space ship. Ansari wrote about the lessons that she learned from the Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts:

Voice 3 

“Most cosmonauts speak English and most astronauts speak Russian. The funny thing I have observed sometimes is when a cosmonaut asks a question in English, his astronaut counterpart will answer in Russian. This is what I call mutual respect! If only we had more people practice it on Earth, we would have a much more peaceful place to live.”

Voice 2 

Ansari also sent videos back to earth. The videos and messages were a great encouragement to other people. Ansari told Space:

Voice 3 

“I hope to encourage everyone but especially young people, women, and young girls all over the world - especially in Middle Eastern countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men. I want to encourage them to not give up their dreams and to go after them. It may seem impossible to them at times. But I believe they can discover their dreams if they keep them in their hearts. They can look for opportunities and make those opportunities happen. Looking back at my life, I am hoping that I could give them a positive example how that could happen.”

Voice 1 

Ansari had to pay a lot of money to be able to travel in space. Of course, most people are not able to do this. But everyone can try to reach their own goals. Ansari also wants to help make positive change in the world. Since her space flight she has done a lot of work with other partners. She works with schools to help young people learn more about science and space. Ansari started the “What If Competition.” This is a competition that encourages young people to design new technology. For example, in 2013, they made cars that ran on power from fizzy soda drinks, like Coca Cola! This competition is fun for young people while encouraging them to learn. And it gives them a chance to win scholarship money to help pay for school.

Voice 2 

Through this program and others, Ansari encourages people to reach their goals. She says that some goals seem like outer space. They appear to be too far away to reach. The travel there seems too long and difficult. But Anousheh Ansari reached her goal of space flight. She told CNN that leaving earth helped her remember how valuable it is. She reminds us that we do not have to leave the earth to remember this:

Voice 3 

“I am someone who is amazed at the universe and this mystery we call life. When I was floating freely in space, I looked back on Earth. From my safe place among the stars, I saw the world. I did not see division, just one Earth.”

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Anousheh Ansari Explores Space’.

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Would you want to travel into space? What are some of your life goals?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Mohamadrazazi
said on August 04, 2014

Thanks lot for this interesting text. But I think there are some wrongs in the text :
1- voice 3 : But I believe they can discover their dreams if they keep it [ them ] in their hearts.
2- voice 1 : The produced [ producer ] was Mark Drenth.
Please tell me if I was wrong.
Thanks.

Avatar Spotlight
Mykola
said on August 05, 2014

Hi, there!
I love space, stars, planets, etc.
Could you prepared one program about stars and planets please ? :)

Liz Waid's avatar
Liz Waid
said on August 11, 2014

Thank you, Mohamadrazazi, for catching those mistakes! You were right! I have fixed them in the script.

hellokitty's avatar
hellokitty
said on April 10, 2015

I want to explore the whole wide world and into space!

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on January 26, 2017

I do not want to travel into space.
I want to travel to a country that gives me freedom and a decent life.
God bless you