2016 Great Immigrants Recipient

Piers J. Sellers
Former NASA astronaut; Deputy Director, NASA Sciences and Exploration Directorate
Born in:
United Kingdom

“When I was a kid, I watched the Apollo launches from across the ocean, and I thought NASA was the holy mountain,” astronaut and climate scientist Piers J. Sellers said when he received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honor, in 2016. “As soon as I could, I came over here to see if I could climb that mountain.” Sellers, who passed away shortly after receiving the award, flew to the International Space Station three times in NASA’s shuttle program and became a leading figure in the agency’s scientific research initiatives. He flew to the space station on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2002 and 2010 and on Discovery in 2006 to perform research and carry out repair work, making a total of six spacewalks. Sellers came to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 1982 to design global climate models showing how the biosphere's living things interact with the climate system before joining the NASA astronaut corps in 1996. While terminally ill he continued to work and devote himself to the challenges posed by global warming. Updated 2018