Scott Parazynski

Dr. Scott Parazynski is a highly decorated physician, astronaut, and tech CEO recently inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. He is a widely sought-after keynote speaker on innovation, risk management, mentorship, and leadership under extreme adversity.

In 1992 he was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and eventually flew 5 Space Shuttle Missions and conducted 7 spacewalks. Mission highlights include a global ozone mapping flight; leading the first joint US-Russian spacewalk while docked to the Russian space station Mir; serving as Senator John Glenn’s crewmate and “personal physician”; and assembly of the Canadian-built space station robotic arm.

In October 2007, Scott led the spacewalking team on STS-120, during which he performed 4 EVAs. The final EVA is regarded by many as one of the most challenging and dangerous ever performed. The tremendous coordinated effort in orbit and on the ground by Mission Control has been likened to the Space Shuttle and Space Station era’s “Apollo 13 moment.”

On May 20, 2009, he became the first astronaut to stand on top of the world, the summit of Mount Everest. As a life-long explorer, he and a colleague recently set the first bootprints adjacent to the world’s youngest lava lake, inside the crater of Massaya Volcano in Nicaragua.

He is the Founder and CEO of Fluidity Technologies, focused on the development of revolutionary input devices powered by machine learning to intuitively move through physical and virtual space, and the author of Memoir: The Sky Below.

3 words to describe Nature?

Wonder. Fragility. Enormity

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility - the forces of nature far exceed our control and scale, and warrants our fullest respect

Appreciation - life is an unexplained gift that shouldn't ever be taken for granted

Preparation - going into the true wilds requires forethought, rigorous training, and teamwork

3 most treasured Nature spots?

One atmosphere down with a scuba tank on, face to face with a coral reef and all its residents

Outside on a spacewalk, flying through the Aurora Australis, eyes wide open

On the summit of Mount Everest at sunrise, seeing the world drop off in all directions around me, with a sunrise to beat all sunrises...

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

At peace - the calming views of our oceans from space, often with beautiful cloud cover and sunglint, helped me prepare to go to bed when I was up in space.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Connected to our living, breathing planet...

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Awed and frightened - reminding me of our first descent adjacent to the lava lake of Masaya volcano in Nicaragua a few years ago.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Joyful, and reminiscent of my views of orbital sunrises and sunsets up in space...

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Sorrow - I'm reminded of our late, great dog Mare, who would always jump on the bed in the midst of thunderstorms. Weighing in at 100 pounds, his unexpected visits were more alarming than the lightning storms outside!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Small relative to the power of nature, like when I camped just below the jet stream, screaming across the summit of Everest

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

All of the above.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

The first time I dropped beneath the sea surface with tanks on my back - at age 11 - was an epiphany, being able to gracefully explore in three dimensions a world that I'd only seen in Jacques Cousteau's films. The overwhelming beauty of that dive and the unknown, possibly lurking danger still brings back wonderful memories to this day.