About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet—And Our Mission to Protect It

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual author lecture with Nicole Stott about her new book, Back to Earth.

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about two programs you can view next month on our YouTube channel.

On Wednesday, October 27, at 1 p.m., Nathaniel Philbrick will discuss Travels with George, his new book that recounts his own modern-day journey based on George Washington’s Presidential excursions.

 And on Thursday, October 28 at 11 a.m., the next installment of our series for young learners―National Archives Comes Alive!―brings us actor Neill Hartley portraying Washington Irving, the father of the American short story and author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

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The National Archives contains a wealth of NASA records in the Washington, DC, area and at several of our archival locations across the country―nearly 100 million pages of textual records, over a million photographs, and thousands of reels of motion picture film and audio recordings. These records document NASA’s long history of aeronautics research, flight tests, and manned and unmanned space exploration. NASA’s story begins well before the Space Age―with its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in 1915.

From its origin just a dozen years after the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, NASA’s mission today is “to enable human expansion across the solar system and bring new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth.”

When our guest author, Nicole Stott, was aboard the International Space Station in 2009, she looked “back to earth” and recognized the interconnectedness of our home planet. Today we’ll hear stories from her time on the space station as well as insights she gained from scientists, activists, and change-makers working to protect life on Earth for future generations.

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Nicole Stott is an astronaut, an artist, and mom who spent over 100 days in space aboard the International Space Station. After a 28-year career with NASA, she founded the Space for Art Foundation, and she speaks to audiences around the world. 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.

Now let’s hear from Nicole Stott. Thank you for joining us today.