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STEM Star: Nicole Stott

The next feature in the STEM Star series, Nicole Stott! Stott is a veteran of 2 spaceflights and 104 days living in space on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She also has a very unique distinction. She was the first person to ever paint in space! She now spreads her experiences through art. Check out our interview with her below about her life combining science and art

1. When did you start combining art with science?

Art has always been a part of my life. I had a very creative family. My dad was a private pilot, loved to do aerobatic flying, and he built airplanes in our garage as a hobby. While building and flying airplanes is a scientific, engineering and technical thing, it is also very much an artistic and creative thing. I know I didn’t realize it at the time, but it certainly had a very formative and inspirational impact on my life.

2. What has been the reception to your space inspired art?
I have been really pleased by the response to my art, especially because it has given me the opportunity to share my spaceflight experience with new audiences. I love that when I have the chance to talk to people about my artwork and spaceflight experience that inspired it, even if they didn’t know there was a space station, they want to know more.

3. What projects that combine art and science are you most proud of?

What I’m most proud of though is that my spaceflight experience and my time as an astronaut has given me the opportunity to participate in projects that are much bigger than me and my own artwork, projects that like our space program are working to improve the life here on Earth.

One project in particular is the Space Suit Art Project. I was invited to participate in this project because I am an astronaut and artist. The idea for the suits came from the artistic genius of Ian Cion who was the director of the Arts in Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Pediatric Cancer Center. The project has been championed through the participation of Ian, MD Anderson, space suit company ILC Dover, the NASA ISS Program Communications group, representatives from our ISS partner countries, and me. Each suit is built from the hand-painted artwork of children in treatment at cancer centers from around the world. There are 3 art space suits: Hope, Courage, and Unity — each named for the underlying message of the project.

Space exploration as a theme is very inspirational and gives people hope for the future and the courage to look toward a positive future. Our space programs have been one of the best examples of how when we work together pretty spectacular things can happen. And space suits, especially these art space suits, are a stunning visual representation of hope, courage, and unity.

Learn more about Nicole and her work at

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