Meet The Woman Behind NASA’s 360 Degree Videos

Sasha Samochina’s visualizations have included the spacecraft Cassini’s beautiful death on Saturn. (NASA/Reuters)


Have you gotten fired up about space exploration lately?

If so, it could be thanks to Sasha Samochina.

Her 360-degree videos and visualizations have given us Earthlings front-row seats to the Curiosity rover’s trip to Mars and the Cassini spacecraft’s beautiful death on Saturn.

As an immersive video producer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she helps turn space science into interactive experiences using a deft combination of computers and art.

Samochina recently appeared on The Limit Does Not Exist, a podcast that focuses on creativity and STEM education. In each episode, Christina Wallace and Cate Scott Campbell look at career paths that cross brain hemispheres, interviewing such people as ballerina/quantum physicist Merritt Moore and Burr Settles, a computer scientist who makes music using machine learning, a field that allows computer systems to learn without being explicitly programmed.

In her interview, Samochina talks about how a detour led her away from science toward art — and back again. Although she didn’t end up studying science in college, a stint at the Field Museum in Chicago re-immersed her in the world of STEM and allowed her to put an art degree to use.

Now she works behind the scenes with NASA scientists to translate their research for the public.

During her interview, Samochina talks about how she adjusted to the agency’s acronyms and rules, and tries to live up to its mission, which includes involving the public in its research.

From social media campaigns to virtual-reality journeys, Samochina works to make the unimaginable real. She also shares some very down-to-earth career advice on the podcast.

Samochina’s enthusiasm about looking at science through an artist’s eye is palpable. When she describes a colleague asking her whether she was up for a high-pressure task and how she proved to herself that she could follow through, it’s hard not to get excited along with her. “Inside, it was like fireworks,” she tells the hosts.

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