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The Top 10 Coolest Astronauts Ever

By Becky Ferreira Apr 23, 2013

9 of 11

Chiaki Mukai

Like Jemison, Mukai began her career as a medical professional, eventually becoming one of the top cardiovascular surgeons in Japan. If you're unfamiliar with that particular specialty, rest assured it's one of the most badass kinds of doctors you can be, as you must have both the guts to break open a person's chest cavity and the brains to delicately operate within it. It was exactly Mukai's incredible medical skill that placed her on NASA's radar, and she was invited to join the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia's 1994 mission to experiment on the human cardiovascular system in space. But being a world-famous doctor and the first Japanese female astronaut was apparently just "so-so" to Mukai, and in her later years, she has become a celebrated writer and poet, with more than sixty publications under her belt.

Tags: slideshows, life, space, nasa, space shuttle, the international space station, astronauts, space walk

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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