NASA Science: Our People

Image of Perseverance Mars rover team

Members of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover team watch in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the first images arrive moments after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, on Feb. 18, 2021. | Full caption and image

The Universe is Our Office

NASA is leading the nation on a great journey of discovery – seeking new knowledge about Earth, our solar system, and the universe. Meet our people:

Swati Mohan

Swati Mohan

Swati Mohan helped land a rover on another planet during a pandemic. She's worked on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover project since 2013 and served as the mission's guidance, navigation, and control operations lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Meet Swati Mohan


Bob Pappalardo

Bob Pappalardo

Bob Pappalardo is the project scientist for NASA's new Europa Clipper, the upcoming mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa. "A project scientist is the lead scientist for a spacecraft mission, responsible for overseeing the scientific objectives and scientific quality of the mission."

Meet Bob Pappalardo

  • Marlon Hernandez is an Information & Configuration Management Engineer on NASA's Europa Clipper project. "In short, I like to think of myself as a project librarian."

  • "I am a project staff scientist on NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. I assist the project scientist and his deputies to support the science goal, and objectives of the mission."


Charles Norton

Charles Norton

Charles Norton is Associate Chief Technologist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Before that, he was Special Advisor for Small Satellite Missions at NASA Headquarters.

Meet Charles Norton


Joe Lazio

Joe Lazio

Joe Lazio wears "different hats" – including working to make NASA's Deep Space Network more productive scientifically. He's also the Project Scientist for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE).

Meet Joe Lazio


Josh Willis

Josh Willis

Josh Willis is the project scientist for Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and Jason-3. "What's most amazing is to work with this group of about 200 scientists and engineers all over the world, who look at the data to make sure the satellites are as accurate as possible. All that work allows us to say how much the global sea level is rising to within just a few millimeters."

Meet Josh Willis

10 People You Should Get to Know

1

Shonte Tucker - Systems Engineer

"Systems engineers keep an eye on the big picture, and help the various areas of a project understand the impact their decisions have on other areas."

2

Sue Smrekar – Scientist

"Research is my passion. I love trying to understand how planets work."

3

Heather Ann Bottom - Systems Engineer

"Follow your heart, and stay true to yourself. Work hard, and don’t give up on what is worth fighting for."

Kelly Fast

4

Kelly Fast – Planetary Defense Coordination Office

"My job is all about trying to find the asteroids before they find us."

5

Mamta Patel Nagaraja – Science Communications

When my older sister claimed she would one day be an astronaut, on the heels of Sally Ride's launch into space, I made the same claim. It turned out that she outgrew the crazy dream, and my desire only got stronger.”

6

Tracy Drain – Flight Systems Engineer

"The important thing about being a scientist or an engineer is learning how to think critically, learning how to be creative, learning problem solving, and learning how to learn."

7

Khanara Tauch Ellers – Engineer

"Never give up! Stay focused and work hard toward your dream! Don’t allow what happens in life to blur your focus."

8

Rosaly Lopes – Vulcanologist

“I saw my first volcano erupt, and that changed my mind forever. The active crater had a beautiful fire fountain spurting red lava about 30 to 50 feet up into the air. It was the most beautiful spectacle, and I was hooked on volcanoes from then on.”

9

Cinzia Zuffada – Associate Chief Scientist

"I am the JPL Associate Chief Scientist, working closely with the Chief Scientist on setting directions for science, informing and managing the laboratory's internal R&D programs."

10

Lindsay Hays – Program Officer and Deputy Program Scientist

"Talk to everybody you can about how they got to where they are, what their day-to-day work is like, what they love about their jobs, and what they don't like. It's remarkable what you'll find out about what opportunities there are."

Lindsay Hays