The Spacesuit Art Project gives children battling cancer an opportunity to express themselves in art and then see that art taken to space. As described in a recent issue of the NASA JSC Roundup newsletter (pdf):
Using simple paintbrushes and paint, pediatric cancer patients employed whorls of color to form creations that would make anyone smile. These mini masterpieces, painted on fabric canvas, were later stitched together into intricate, flamboyant spacesuits that any superhero (or astronaut) would be proud to don. But what became evident throughout the process to create these stunning works is that the real superheroes embodying Hope, Courage and Unity—the names of the spacesuits—were the children all along.
The program was “initiated by the MD Anderson Cancer Center Arts in Medicine Program in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center, spacesuit manufacturer ILC Dover, retired astronaut Nicole Stott and later with the agency’s international partners”.
An artistic spacesuit was delivered to the International Space Station on a recent cargo flight of the SpaceX Dragon. And on Wednesday, ISS astronaut Jack Fischer wore the beautiful suit during a live downlink with some of the participants in the project: Colorful spacesuit painted by children with cancer worn by astronaut in space | collectSPACE.
Expedition 52 flight engineer Jack Fischer donned “Unity,” a patchwork costume spacesuit decorated by children with cancer in the U.S., Russia, Germany, Japan, and Canada — the same countries that operate the space station. The multicolor garment, a product of the Spacesuit Art Project, was pieced together by ILC Dover, the same company that furnishes the softgoods for NASA’s real spacesuits.
“It is tricky to get into, but it is worth it, kind of like the real suit,” said Fischer during a live downlink with the project’s organizers and some of the children who contributed to the design. “The real suit, you have the reward of getting to go outside and seeing an amazing view. [With] this suit, you have the reward of the opportunity – or rather the honor, to represent the bravest kids in the world who actually put it together.”
Here is a video of the downlink event:
Here’s an earlier video about the project: