Bridey Heing
April 21, 2015 8:53 am

Last week, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti delighted Star Trek fans when she posted this tweet, featuring a picture of her wearing a uniform from Star Trek: Voyager.

For the record, that’s a reference to a new espresso maker on board the Dragon spacecraft, which has been delivering supplies to the International Space Station. Yes, Cristoforetti and her fellow space voyagers are pretty psyched about the new coffeemaker they’ve just been gifted.

But back to Cristoforetti, who clearly has a great sense of humor, a passion for good coffee, and a deep understanding of our Star Trek fandom. Yes, if we were astronauts, we’d totally have a Star Trek costume handy for daily social media snapshots from space.

Where has this woman been all our lives? Well, for starters, she’s been serving as a flight engineer on the International Space Station’s Futura mission since November—and plans to return to Earth (Got that? Earth!) in the next month.

Hailing from Italy, she’s the first Italian woman in space, a huge accomplishment and a majorly awesome step for the Italian space program. This wasn’t her first groundbreaking career step though; after graduating with degrees in Aeronautics Sciences and Engineering, she became one of the first female lieutenants and fighter pilots in the Italian Air Force. She’s logged hundreds of hours flying, and her current mission is her second for the Italian Space Agency.

Here’s a video of her explaining the Futura mission in her own words:

Cristoforetti is a total genius—that’s obvious. She speaks five different languages fluently — Italian, English, German, French and Russian. She’s also studied all over the world, including the U.S. where she attended Space Camp when she was 18. She shares images and updates from the International Space Station across her social media accounts, including Twitter, in multiple languages.

With more and more women entering STEM fields, it’s so awesome to be able to see someone like Cristoforetti, who has broken barriers and accomplished so much in a male-dominated field. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s doing one of the coolest things imaginable: taking part in a long-duration mission in space. Big props to you, Samantha, and we cannot wait for your next update!

(Image via)

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