Sarah Jane Pell

Independent artist commercial diver, explorer and researcher of new worlds.

Performing Astronautics
Sarah Project Moonwalk Simulation Astronaut Sarah Jane Pell

Aiming the new knowledge

Award-winning artist Dr. Sarah Jane Pell is leading the first generation of arstronaut crews of the commercial spaceflight era. Her pioneering practice seeks to embody, and critique, the culture of exploration from sea, to summit, to space. She performs expressively and builds novel prototype apparatus to test and communicate from the field. Artifacts include sculptural, technical, poetic and media events. Dr. Pell is an Astronaut Candidate for a suborbital aeronomy mission, an experienced Simulation Astronaut for undersea trials, and imagineer for a MoonVillage. Her work promotes physical conditioning, creative visualisation and communication.

Dr. Pell is an experienced Occupational Diver, aquatic performer and versitile art and science collaborator. Her work is widely exhibited, performed, published and recognised. She was awarded Best PhD Art & Science by Leonardo AS, MIT 2007 and TED Fellow 2010. She was the first artist to graduate from the International Space University and Singularity University and serves as Co-Chair of the European Space Agency (ESA) Topical Team Arts & Science, Senior Space Art Consultant to Icarus Interstellar, and Senior Advisor Diving to the Maritime Union of Australia. Bending Horizons 2015-2017 documents her own expression during extreme art adventures in space analogue environments undersea, at altitude and in microgravity. Dr. Pell aims to contribute new knowledge on human behaviours, biosensory media and communication design for extreme performance. She is a Australia Council Fellow in Experimental and Emerging Arts.

Meet Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

Artist exploring from sea, to summit, to space.
BFA, MA, PhD, ADAS2, SSP06, GSP10, AS-017

An accomplished artist and occupational diver, SJ is best known for pioneering "aquabatics”. A qualified simulation Astronaut and Aquanaut, she also takes art into expeditions and space analogues. With a research-in-performance approach, SJ produces novel experiments, prototypes, live art and films, and contributes to speculative fiction, exploration science, publication and outreach.

Sarah Jane Pell Triptych UnderCurrent 2004 Moonwalk 2016 2020 Photo Lucy McRae 2014


A 21st Century Biography...

Performing Astronautics:

following the body's natural edge into the abyss of space.

Experimental performance exploration to amplify the bodily phases of astronaut training and undersea missions as basis for new artforms and creative expression.


Artistic exhibitions, transmissions, video showcases, and new media installations.


Contemporary performance art, theatrical production, and filmic live art event.


Occupational diver training and professional experience across diving industries.


Expedition, exploration, voyage or mission. Adding a touch of art to adventure.


Public speaker, academic lecturer, guest artist panelist and keynote presenter.


Academic scholarship, research and education from visual arts to astronautics.


Artist residencies and workshops including fellowship projects and collaborations.


Studio lab experiments and research. Speculative proposals and novel prototypes.


Research publications and presentations including reports, white papers, and theses.

Latest Activities

Inspirational Keynote Speaker Book now for 2017!
Dr Pell Spacesuit Validation Flight UW Sim

An artist literally on a mission!

Dr. Pell is an Artist-Astronaut Candidate for a NASA suborbital experiment by Project PoSSUM (an acroynm for Polar Suborbital Science Upper Mesosphere). In 2016, she also logged validation flights in Final Frontier Designs IVA spacesuits. Pell will join the PHEnOM Project (Physiological, Health, and Environmental Observations in Microgravity) commercial human spaceflight research program for other mission specialist training in 2017.

A commercial diver and underwater performance expert, Dr. Pell partnered Project MOONWALK as the Simulation Astronaut for the Human-Robotic Collaboration EVA Simulation Mission trials at the Comex Undersea Lunar Analogue site, Marseille FR in 2016. She will join the SeaSpace Research and Exploration Society team at Aquarius Reef Laboratory, US in 2018 as Prime Crew for the Project POSEIDON: 100 Day Undersea mission. These mission opportunities include sciart experimentation and creative production.

Earlier expeditionary training includes Atlantica Expeditions subsea habitat mission, Bending Horizons Everest Expedition, EVA Simulation NBL Workshops, Occupational Diving, and the HMP Simulation.

Learn more

What Global Leaders Say?

Underwater Adelphi Sarah Jane Pell

Dr Sarah Jane Pell's mission epitomises the power, strength and tenacity required for humans to push through boundaries. No only does she plan to scale the world's highest peak, Mt Everest, but she plans to do it in a unique, artistic and inspiring way. I wish Sarah great success and I look forward to following her amazing journey.

Chris Jensen Burke, 2015 5th NZ and 10th AU woman to summit Mt Everest
Explorer Fish Movie scene Pell

We need to invest more in these kinds of experiments and prototypes, as does ‘aquabatics’ pioneer Sarah Jane Pell, who is exploring an adaptive aquatic approach to the future of space....

Prof. Rachel Armstrong, 2014 Architectural Design.
Deeper Deeper Deeper FAC Pell

Although she draws on the poetic and performative potential suggested by aquatic environments, her body of work is best described as an aestheticisation of life support systems.

Dr. Jonathan Marshall, 2005 Real Time.

Latest from the Media Team

2016 Australia Council Fellows

Awarded Australia Council Fellow 2016 Experimental Emerging Arts

Seven accomplished Australian artists are recipients of the 2016 Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship grants.

Gifted Citizen Pitch Sarah Jane Pell

Finalist in the Gifted Citizen Prize 2016 Cuidad de las Ideas Mexico

An international prize of $100K that supports social entrepreneurship projects with great reach and significance.

Australia Council Arts Leader Intensive 2016

Invited to Australia Council Arts Leader Program 2016-17

A 15mth program building the capabilities of strong leaders to deliver a resilient, sustainable and vibrant arts sector.

Time Place Space NOMAD

Selected for Time_Place_Space: NOMAD 2016

A research-based travelling laboratory program for experimental, site-specific art making and artistic resilience.

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