Visions of a Freeman - Brain
Age - 24, December of 2016
A view into the
Reality seen from the Eyes of a TRIBalance.
A quite Fancy Death for Nasa, who Delights on such
Climate scientist and Nasa astronaut Piers Sellers dies aged 61
British-born Sellers, who featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s
climate change film, lauded as ‘a strident defender and eloquent
spokesperson for our home planet’
British-born US astronaut Piers Sellers, pictured after his safe
return on the space shuttle Discovery in 2006, died on Friday
aged 61. Photograph: Pete Cosgrove/AP
Saturday 24 December 2016 04.09 GMT
Piers Sellers, a climate scientist and former astronaut who
gained fame late in life for his eloquent commentary about the
earth’s fragility and his own cancer diagnosis, has died. He was
British-born Sellers, who flew on three space shuttle missions
between 2002 and 2010, died on Friday morning in Houston, Texas,
of pancreatic cancer, Nasa said in a statement.
Sellers shared his astronaut’s perspective on climate change in
Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary, Before the Flood, released
earlier this year. He told DiCaprio that seeing the earth’s
atmosphere as a “tiny little onion skin” from space helped him
gain a fuller understanding of the planet’s delicacy.
He also wrote a New York Times op-ed about grappling with the
meaning of his life’s work after learning he had terminal cancer.
In both the film and the op-ed, he was optimistic, arguing that
he expected human ingenuity to rescue the planet from a dire
future of runaway global warming.
The Nasa administrator, Charles Bolden, described Sellers “a
tremendous public servant who was dedicated to Nasa, the nation
and the world”.
Piers Sellers meets the US Secretary of State, John Kerry with
Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens at the premiere of Before
The Flood. Photograph: Brad Barket/Invision/AP
“Piers was dedicated to all facets of exploration,” Bolden said.
“His curiosity and drive to uncover new knowledge was generously
shared with audiences around the world, both from space and in
wide travels to reach as many people as possible with an
essential understanding of our fragile planet.
“His legacy will be one not only of urgency that the climate is
warming, but also of hope that we can yet improve humanity’s
stewardship of this planet. His cancer diagnosis became a
catalyst for him to work even harder on efforts to save the
planet from global warming for the benefit of future generations.”
Bolden said Sellers “was a strident defender and eloquent
spokesperson for our home planet, Earth”.
“Spacewalker and scientist, free thinker and friend to our
planet, and all who seek new knowledge – to say he will be
missed would be a gross understatement,” he said.
Originally from Crowborough in East Sussex, the University of
Leeds and Edinburgh graduate gained American citizenship to
fulfil a childhood dream of flying into space.
“When I was a kid, I watched the Apollo launches from across the
ocean, and I thought Nasa was the holy mountain,” Sellers said
earlier this year when Bolden presented him with the
Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honour. “As
soon as I could, I came over here to see if I could climb that
Piers Sellers carries out a spacewalk on the International Space
Station in 2006. Photograph: NASA/Getty Images
Sellers was deputy director for sciences and exploration at
Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He
started working for Nasa as a scientist in 1982 and joined its
astronaut corps in 1996. He logged 35 days in space during the
three shuttle missions to the International Space Station and
was appointed an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2011.
“As an astronaut, I spacewalked 220 miles [354km] above the
Earth,” Sellers wrote in his op-ed. “Floating alongside the
International Space Station, I watched hurricanes cartwheel
across oceans, the Amazon snake its way to the sea through a
brilliant green carpet of forest, and gigantic night-time
thunderstorms flash and flare for hundreds of miles along the
“From this God’s-eye view, I saw how fragile and infinitely
precious the Earth is. I’m hopeful for its future.”
Sellers wrote that the best way he could imagine spending his
final months was to continue working, despite knowing he would
not live to see the worst of climate change or the harnessing of
“New technologies have a way of bettering our lives in ways we
cannot anticipate,” Sellers wrote. “There is no convincing,
demonstrated reason to believe that our evolving future will be
worse than our present, assuming careful management of the
challenges and risks. History is replete with examples of us
humans getting out of tight spots.”
Associated Press and Press Association contributed to this