Profile: Bethany Downer is the youngest-ever recipient of Memorial University’s Horizon Alumni award, which she received in 2018, and has twice been named one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30. She was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and currently manages the outreach of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope for the European Space Agency. Additionally, she is the communications coordinator for the Space Generation Advisory Council for the United Nations Program on Space Applications. Bethany received her Bachelor of Science from Memorial University before acquiring her master’s in space studies from the International Space University. Bethany is also the first scientist-astronaut candidate from Newfoundland as part of the first and only crewed suborbital research program that studies the upper mesosphere through polar suborbital research called Project PoSSUM.
What she says: “I strongly believe that visibility is important for inspiring the next generation of space explorers and therefore it is of integral importance that female astronauts are equally represented beside their male peers, both within the industry and to the general public. It will be critical to have fair representation of female astronauts for upcoming space missions, including those to the Moon and Mars.”