In a bid to raise awareness about the benefits of pairing art with medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and NASA have teamed up for a first-of-its-kind endeavour wherein NASA astronaut Kate Rubins wore a suit suit painted by kids with cancer on Friday.
Further, some of these kids were able to chat for 20-minutes with the astronaut on Friday. Rubins is currently aboard the International Space Station. The suit has been dubbed “Courage”, and according to NASA the suit is designed “to raise awareness about the benefits of pairing art with medicine.”
Expedition 49 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who has a degree in cancer biology, answered questions from several patients turned artists. In the fall of 2015, MD Anderson Cancer Center partnered with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to design a hand-painted spacesuit decorated by patients recovering at the hospital to raise awareness about the benefits of pairing art with medicine. Rubins, retired astronaut Nicole Stott, and other NASA personnel have lent their artistic talents to this project and worked as mentors to the patients over the past year.
Three spacesuits, HOPE, COURAGE and UNITY, were created during the project. Spacesuit UNITY was created at cancer hospitals in Germany, Russia, and Japan with collaboration from astronauts from NASA’s international partners, ESA (European Space Agency), the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Rubins will wear the COURAGE suit during the conversation.