ART & SPACE: Astronaut Nicole Stott visiting La Samanna


Veteran NASA astronaut Nicole Stott completed two spaceflights in 2009 and 2011 and spent 104 days on the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle, with highlights including her spacewalk (10th woman to do it). The vision of our planet from above changed his life.

After returning to earth, Nicole founded "Space for Art" with fellow astronaut Cristina Korp, a foundation that creates giant space artworks around the world and involves children in hospitals, health centers, refugees and orphanages, art having great healing power.

Nicole Stott therefore came from November 28 to 30 invited by Samanna, to speak to young people and adults about her experience at NASA and her foundation. Like a “star” but remaining very humble, she answered a host of questions about her takeoff in the space shuttle to reach the ISS, her stay and the impressive re-entry into the atmosphere for the return to earth. She also led an interactive art workshop for children and adults, with the theme of the cosmos on a canvas, as she was able to do on the ISS with a watercolor of the earth seen from the porthole, in a state of weightlessness where everything floats...

Asked about her first experience of a space shuttle launch, she replied: “We are anxious, but not terrified. Nothing prepares you for the event. We're curious to know what it feels like when a rocket with 3000 tons of thrust under your feet propels you into the sky. You're sitting on the launch pad with all this power and eight minutes later you're in orbit around the Earth.

When training, everything is simulated as much as possible. But to float and fly in that environment, you're not prepared for it."

And for the return to Earth?

“Between the moment the engines are started to leave orbit and the moment we re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, an hour passes. Aboard the space shuttle, it was so comfortable, so graceful, a little bumpy here and there. Yes, you see all the plasma burning through the window and then you land on the runway.

The final evening was spent enjoying a celestial dinner under the stars at La Plaj restaurant with Nicole's family and guests. Two telescopes loaned by Belmond Cap Juluca allowed everyone to see Saturn and its rings and Jupiter and its 4 main moons.

From her experience, Nicole is convinced that international cooperation in space and the seas must serve as a model for all of humanity here on Earth.

There is still a way to go unfortunately…

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