The Passing of Piers Sellers —An Unabashedly Earth-Focused Astronaut and Hero of Science

Despite a 2015 diagnosis of stage-4 pancreatic cancer, Piers J. Sellers, a leading NASA climate scientist and former astronaut, worked relentlessly through his final weeks of life to help sustain Earth, along with NASA’s earth science program, which is facing an uncertain future in an era of enormous political shifts. NASA announced his death today. [Here’s the Associated Press obituary.]

This memo circulated to agency staff and scientists (Sellers helped lead the Earth Sciences Division of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center):

Please be sure to read his extraordinary Op-Ed article for The Times on “Cancer and Climate Change”:

I spoke with him just a few weeks ago for my ProPublica story on NASA Earth science under a Trump administration:

Finally, here’s a fine video tribute released by NASA when Sellers received a distinguished service medal last summer:

I offer my deepest condolences and best wishes to his family, friends and colleagues.