INDIA, April 5, 2013 (Wall Street Journal): Sunita Williams addressed students at the Science City in Kolkata, April 2, 2013. Ms. Williams, who is on a weeklong trip to India, has also held talks at the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai and the National Science Centre in New Delhi.
A pendant of Lord Ganesha, a copy of Hinduism's holy book, the Bhagavad Gita, and a box of samosas, are some of the items NASA astronaut Sunita Williams brought with her on expeditions to outer space.
Last year, when the American astronaut ventured into space for the second time, she carried a copy of the Upanishads, a Hindu scripture. "This helps me feel closer to home," says Ms. Williams, whose father was born and raised in the western Indian state of Gujarat. "It's a reminder of who I am and where I belong," she adds.
The 47-year-old - who holds the record for the longest spacewalk by a woman, totaling 50 hours and 40 minutes over two space missions - is currently touring India as part of an initiative to promote space research in the country.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Williams, who was born and raised in the U.S., talks about her weeklong India tour, growing up with an Indian father, and about her friendship with Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman to travel to space.
For excerpts from the interview see 'source' above.