Astronaut Promotes New Memoir With 'Epic Adventure' Photo Contest

scott paranzynski spacewalk
Scott Paranzynski, seen here during his "epic" spacewalk to repair a solar array, is promoting his new memoir, "The Sky Below," with the #MostEpicAdventure photo contest on social media. (Image credit: NASA)

The only person to see the highest point on Earth both from its peak and from orbit is now in search of a few more epic adventures — yours.

Scott Parazynski, who summited Mount Everest in 2009, two years after walking in space to repair a torn solar array outside of the International Space Station, is promoting the upcoming release of his memoir, "The Sky Below," with a photo contest focused on his fans' extreme experiences.

"Want to win cool stuff from my adventures?" Parazynski, a former NASA astronaut, announced on Twitter. "Enter for a chance to win memorabilia from explorer and astronaut Scott Parazysnki."

The contest, which began on Sunday afternoon (July 9), is open to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users. To enter, share a personal photo of your own "epic adventure" with the hashtags #MostEpicAdventure and #TheSkyBelow and tag Parazynski at @AstroDocScott.

A winner will be announced on Saturday (July 15).

Among the prizes are embroidered patches and lapel pins from some of Parazynski's five space shuttle missions, an autographed photo and possibly even a flight coin.

In "The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space and Speed," now available on Amazon Kindle First and set for release in hard and soft cover by Little A Books on Aug. 1, Parazynski shares the stories behind his own adventures, including diving under the ocean to scaling tall mountains to launching into space.

In addition to his daring extravehicular activity (or EVA) to cinch a tear in a space station solar array using makeshift cufflinks in 2007, Parazynski was also one half of the first U.S.-Russian spacewalk during a shuttle mission 10 years earlier. He also served as John Glenn's personal physician during the Mercury astronaut's celebrated return to orbit in 1998.

"Scott Parazynski's drive, curiosity, inventiveness and great humor shine through the pages of 'The Sky Below' and will certainly inspire future generations to pursue their dreams with every fiber in their being," wrote Glenn, before his death at age 95 in December 2016.

Scott Parazynski posted to Twitter and Facebook the above promo for his #MostEpicAdventure photo contest. (Image credit: @AstroDocScott/Twitter)

Back on Earth, Parazynski successfully summited Everest on his second attempt, carrying with him four small specks of moon rock from the first mission to land humans on the lunar surface. An experienced mountain climber — he has also scaled peaks in the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes and Himalayas, among other mountain ranges — Parazynski is also an avid scuba diver and a one-time candidate for the U.S. Olympic luge team.

One of Parazynski's most recent adventures involved him joining the first expedition to descend into Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua to install a sensor network to better predict its eruptive activity. He writes of that experience in "The Sky Below," and how he "learned adventure is hollow without a greater purpose."

He came to a similar realization while floating in space.

"Looking back home [at Earth] changed my perspective. I look down at the sky below and realized all of humankind is in the frame, living and breathing and moving inside that thin blue line," he wrote.

In the lead up to launching the photo contest, Parazynski posted photos of his trip to Everest, inside the volcano and aboard the space shuttle.

In addition to the contest, Parazynski is also touring with "The Sky Below" in August, sharing his epic adventures in-person at The Explorers Club in New York, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida and The Museum of Flight in Seattle, among other venues.

For more about Scott Parazynski and "The Sky Below" see his website at

See the cover for "The Sky Below" by Scott Parazynski with Susy Flory at collectSPACE.

Follow on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2017 All rights reserved.

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.