Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

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

Performing Astronautics
Sarah Project Moonwalk Simulation Astronaut Sarah Jane Pell

Art transforms futures

Award-winning artist Dr. Sarah Jane Pell is an experienced Occupational Diver, aquatic performer and versitile art and science collaborator. She is leading first generation artist-astronaut crews of the commercial spaceflight era. Her practice aptly begins underwater by connecting with deep ecologies to embody, and critique, the culture of exploration. Artifacts include sculptural, technical, poetic events and immersive media connecting bodies of water to bodies of knowledge and movement. She was awarded Best PhD Art & Science by Leonardo AS, MIT 2007 and TED Fellow 2010 for pioneering Aquabatics. Dr. Pell is an experienced Simulation Astronaut for undersea trials, an Artist-Astronaut Candidate for a suborbital aeronomy mission, and an imagineer for a MoonVillage. She continues to perform expressively and tests novel tools to make art in the field. Her work promotes physical conditioning, creative visualisation and new communication.

In 2016, Dr. Pell was awarded Australia Council Fellow and Gifted Citizen (Highly Commended). Her work is widely exhibited, performed and published. The first artist to graduate from the International Space University and Singularity University, Dr. Pell served as Co-Chair of the European Space Agency (ESA) Topical Team Arts & Science (2011-2014). Bending Horizons 2015-2017 documents her expression during extreme art adventures at altitude testing immersive media. Performing Astronautics 2016-2018 creates new territories for experimental and emerging arts into human extra-terrestrial expression and communication. In 2018, she joined Monash University as an Adjunct Associate Professor across the Faculty of Engineering; Office of the Engineering Dean; Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture; Artist-in-Residence at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform. In 2020, she is Co-PI of an Australia Research Council Discovery Project on Aquatic Play, Vice-Chair International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Technical Committee Cultural Utilisation of Space and Aquanaut on a 10-day subsea mission. Pell aims to contribute new knowledge on human behaviours, biosensory media and communication design for extreme performance, and responsible ecological adaptation.

A/Prof Sarah Jane Pell

Artist from sea, to summit, to space.
BFA, MA, PhD, ADAS2, SSP06, GSP10, DP20

An accomplished artist and occupational diver, Sarah 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, she produces novel experiments, prototypes, live art and films, and contributes to speculative design, exploration science, publication and outreach. Full Biography...

Sarah Jane Pell UnderCurrent 2004 Moonwalk 2016 2020 Photo Lucy McRae 2014
Following the body's natural edge into the abyss of space:

Performing Astronautics

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 2021!
Dr Pell Spacesuit Validation Flight UW Sim

An artist literally on a mission!

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell chases ideas to the ends of the Earth and beyond in pursuit of an extreme performance understanding. This site documents her experiments and missions alike. For example, a commercial diver and underwater performance expert, Dr. Pell partnered with Project MOONWALK as a Simulation Astronaut for the Human-Robotic Collaboration EVA Simulation Mission trials at the Comex Undersea Lunar Analogue site, Marseille FR 2016. This sci-art immersion inspired creative publications such as The Agency of Human-Robotic Lunatics commissioned by Robotronica, 2017; How to Survive on the Moon commissioned by Arts House for the 2017 Melbourne Festival; and Lunar Parliament for Kosmica at Ars Electronica 2018.

Sarah is also an Artist-Astronaut Candidate for a NASA suborbital experiment by Project PoSSUM (an acroynm for Polar Suborbital Science Upper Mesosphere), undertaking Bioastronutics Human Factors Performance research, and Spaceflight Egress and Sea Survival training. Projects such as Stellar Corpus, SPECTRA, and Aquabatics embody archetypal human dreams of flight and faciation with the depths too. For her Australia Council Fellowship, Pell was MDRS Crew 188, MAU Nepal 001, and Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform Artist-in-Residence, and Commander of the Lunares lunar analogue mission. She publishes in top-tier outlets.

Learn more

What Global Leaders Say?

Christine Jensen Burke headshot 64x64

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
Prof Rachel Armstrong headshot 64x64

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.
Dr Jonathan Marshall headshot 64x64

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.
Dr Richard Move headshot 64x64

I see Sarah in a Bargshrinikov way.
She has a particular virtuosity to her body...uniquely acclimatised to extreme environments.

Dr. Richard Move, 2018 Choreographer, MoveIt Productions NY

Latest from the Media Team


Radio Orange 94.0
COVID-19 Space Specials (Podcast)

Guests: Dehlia Hannah, Sarah Jane Pell, Susmita Mohanty and Angelo Vermeulen.


Space in Your Face!
Berkeley SETI (Virtual Theatre)

Is this a Mars Simulation? Some hardcore humor and softcore science and art.

yurisnightdfw.org 2020 promo

Yuri's Night
Dallas Fort Worth (Virtual Event)

Space and Art Sonifications Video 1: Sarah Jane Pell (mid COVID-19).

Sarah Jane Pell performing Port Arthur Semaphore 2020

Forgotton Not
Optical Telegraph (Performance)

Commandant's House Semaphore Signal Station at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

CSIRO Space Technology Future Science Platform Workshop 2020 Promo

CSIRO Space Technology
Future Science Platform (Workshop)

Utilising Australia’s unique geography to develop space analogue facilities.

asterrisque2020 Promo

astēr risque 2020
ITACCUS Space Art (Exhibition)

Curator Sarah Jane Pell: IAA Space Traffic Management Conference, UTx Austin, US.


Rock Stars
Adelaide Festival (MegaScreens)

Screening Artists: December 'Rock Stars', Sarah Jane Pell & David G. Barnes.

2016 Australia Research Council Discovery Announcement

Discovery Grant
Australian Research Council

DP200102612 Mueller & Pell (2020-2023) Designing digital aquatic play.

Hobart Current 2020 Promo

Hobart Current
City of Hobart Biennale (Art Prize)

Ten artists awarded to produce work for new biennial City of Hobart Art Prize.

2019-sarah-jane-pell-IAC Promo

70th IAC, Washington D.C.
On EVA dance & biometrics (Papers)

Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform & ERAU Space S.U.I.T. Lab.

FIS2019-sarah-jane-pell-ARS_Electronica Promo

Ars Electronica
Future Innovators Summit

Ars Art Thinking School - Future of Humanity - Moving beyond the Question.


Insights from Women in Space
NESRA Space4Women (Webinar)

Guests: Sarah Jane Pell, Chiara Chiesa and Manisha Dwa. Host: Anmol Mittal.