Nicole Stott is the author of Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet—And Our Mission to Protect It
When astronaut Nicole Stott saw the Earth from space for the first time, she was overcome by a realization that moved her deeply: This brilliant blue marble, shielded from the cold emptiness of space by only its razor-thin atmosphere, is a naturally existing system perfectly designed to support human life. Unlike the International Space Station, it doesn’t require advanced technology for humans to breathe, eat, live. But very much like the ISS, it requires every “crewmate” of Spaceship Earth to work together to keep our planet’s life support system running smoothly.
In her new book, Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet—And Our Mission to Protect It, Stott inspires readers of all backgrounds and beliefs to come together to tackle the planet’s most pressing problems, from water insecurity and pollution to the existential threat of climate change. Our planetary life support system is in grave danger and there is no backup plan if it becomes uninhabitable. (No, we can’t just move to Mars.) But the science tells us there is reason for hope: If we take bold action starting now.
Stott believes we can do it, because she saw the kind of cooperation that it will take every day on the ISS, where people from around the world work together and support one another in their various missions. As one of the few Americans to have traveled to space, Stott offers hard-won lessons in high-stakes problem solving, survival, and responding to crisis. She also shares the stories of scientists and changemakers already sparking meaningful change in their communities and around the globe.
While few of us will have the opportunity to see the Earth from space, Stott hopes to inspire an “Earthrise moment” in each of us, so that we can truly appreciate our fragile and intricate web of human connection. That is the mission of BACK TO EARTH, a stirring call to action and a hopeful vision for the future.
After a twenty-eight-year career with NASA, Stott founded the Space for Art Foundation, and she speaks to audiences around the world including the Vatican and the United Nations' historic Paris Agreement gathering. She is featured in National Geographic's One Strange Rock and the painting she created in space is displayed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Nicole lives in Florida with her family.