Video Gallery

About this Video

Wherever you’re exploring, the experience is all about perspectives. NASA astronaut Cady Coleman shares stories from two of her explorations on the Space Station and what it meant for teamwork and work ethic.

About the Speakers

Cady Coleman

Cady Coleman

Dr. Cady Coleman is a former NASA Astronaut and a retired US Air Force Colonel who started her career as a polymer chemist. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from MIT and a doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After working as a research chemist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Cady was selected as astronaut in 1992. Over the course of her 24 year career at NASA and the USAF, Cady flew twice on the Space Shuttle Columbia and completed a six month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Cady’s space shuttle missions spanned leadership of microgravity science as a precursor mission to the ISS and responsibility for deploying the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. In 2010, she served as the Lead Science Officer for ISS Expedition 26/27, providing onboard supervision of more than 100 science and technology experiments. As the Lead Robotics Officer for the mission, she became the second-ever astronaut to capture a free-flying supply ship from the ISS. Along with her crew, she hosted a record number of supply ships at the ISS. During a portion of her stay on the ISS, Cady advised Sandra Bullock in the movie Gravity, and gave the introductory talk for TED 2011 from space.

On the ground, Cady was known for her ability to facilitate problem solving among groups with diverse interests. She served in a variety of roles within the Astronaut Office, including Chief of Robotics, Lead for Tile Repair Efforts after the Columbia accident and Lead Astronaut for integration of supply ships from NASA’s commercial partners, Space X and Orbital ATK.

Before retiring from NASA in late 2016, Cady led open-innovation and public-private partnership efforts for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Currently a public speaker and consultant, Cady is passionate about sharing her experiences in leadership and inclusive collaboration, as well as making science accessible to the general public.

Josh Simpson

Josh Simpson

Josh Simpson Artist Statement:

“I have been a glass maker and artist for more than 45 years. My current work includes imaginary XRay, radio or optical telescope images in glass. Each piece is connected to every other, either by obvious physical traits or conceptual threads, usually involving scientific or astronomical themes. I utilize traditional tools and ancient hand blowing techniques. My work starts out as sand, minerals and metallic oxides that are formulated, mixed, melted and made into glass objects by me personally, here in my studio.”


Josh Simpson is a Western Massachusetts glass artist whose work includes imaginary planets and a variety of other vibrantly colored sculptural pieces often inspired by scientific, astrophysical or cosmological themes.

Josh began experimenting with glass when he was a student at Hamilton College in 1971. Over the last 45 years, his art has evolved and grown as he has experimented, made stupid mistakes, and learned from historical records and from his own experience. He found artistic inspiration in many aspects of his natural surroundings, but none more profound than the images of space sent back to earth by the early astronauts. While successful at making unique goblets and other traditional glass forms, perhaps his greatest satisfaction and fame is derived from his glass planets: beautiful unique spheres encasing whimsical landscapes of other worlds.

In the early 1970s, Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong looked up from the surface of the moon and said “I can cover the Earth with my thumb.” Josh tries to capture that same feeling of amazement in his solid glass planets. There are little secrets and surprises within and under the surface of every piece, and the larger the planet, the more one can discover.

Josh has devoted himself to glass, from building his own furnace and tools, to learning the chemistry and alchemy of adding metallic oxides to create a spectrum of colors, to mastering the ancient techniques of blowing and forming glass. He has held one-man shows all over the world, taught at schools, museums, and workshops, and received many awards. Examples of his work are held in the permanent collections of many museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the White House Collection of American Crafts, and the Corning Museum of Glass.