| Last updated
Almost 30 years on, and she is in no doubt as to whether there is life out there.
Speaking to the Observer Magazine, she said: "Aliens exist, there's no two ways about it.
"There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life. Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not. It's possible they're here right now and we simply can't see them."
The chemist - who now works at Imperial College, London - added that it was 'telling' that many people refer to her as the first British woman in space, when in reality her journey to the Soviet space station Mir was the first time any British man or woman had been to space.
She said: "I've never defined myself by my gender, and I continue not to do so. People often describe me as the first British woman in space, but I was actually the first British person.
"It's telling that we would otherwise assume it was a man. When Tim Peake went into space, some people simply forgot about me. A man going first would be the norm, so I'm thrilled that I got to upset that order."
Dr Sharman hopes her legacy will inspire people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.
She said: "Self-belief and a can-do attitude changed my life. I heard the job ad for Britain's first astronaut on the radio while driving home from work. I ticked all the boxes, but thought they wouldn't choose me so I wouldn't bother.
"By the time I got home I'd realised that if I didn't actually apply, then they couldn't choose me. As my mum used to tell me: 'If you don't try something, you'll never know what might have happened.'"
But having defied the odds and made history, what did Dr Sharman glean from her time floating above and beyond our planet?
She said: "Being in space taught me that it's people, not material goods, which truly matter. Up there we had all we needed to survive: the right temperature, food and drink, safety. I gave no thought to the physical items I owned on earth Earth. When we flew over specific parts of the globe, it was always our loved ones we thought of down below us."
So there you have it, listen to Dr Sharman, treasure your loved ones and save yourself a trip.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read