People & Places

Iowa Astronaut Peggy Whitson named to Time's 100 most influential people

'Yes, one can change history and make earth a better place by going into space'

The Iowa House honored Iowa native Peggy Whitson her record-breaking accomplishments as an astronaut on April 12, 2018. (Photo courtesy Iowa House Republicans)
The Iowa House honored Iowa native Peggy Whitson her record-breaking accomplishments as an astronaut on April 12, 2018. (Photo courtesy Iowa House Republicans)

Astronaut Peggy Whitson can add another line to her already impressive resume.

Whitson, a Mount Ayr native, was named to Time magazine’s 2018 list of 100 most influential people. During her missions on the International Space Station, she has spent 665 days in space — more time living and working in space than any other American or any woman worldwide.

“I see the looks on little girls’ faces when she speaks and the difference in their lives that she’s making, it reminds me that, yes, one can change history and make Earth a better place by going to space, because that’s what Peggy has achieved,” wrote French astronaut Thomas Pesquet on Time’s website.

Other 2018 honorees include global political leaders like Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, cultural figures like Oprah Winfrey, rapper Cardi B and actress Millie Bobby Brown (the youngest-ever honoree at 14, according to Time), and activists like the Parkland, Florida teenagers who have led nationwide anti-gun protests and Tarana Burke, founder of the #metoo movement.

The nod from Time follows other recent awards for Whitson. Earlier this month, she was honored with the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award and formally recognized by Iowa lawmakers.

Though she has moved away from Iowa, Whitson, who grew up on a farm in Beaconsfield, has credited her upbringing as a factor in her success.

“Work ethic is probably my No. 1 value and No. 1 attribute,” she said in an earlier interview with The Gazette. “I think a straightforward, honest approach to people, and respect for other people.”

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