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 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.
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."
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 is Associate Chief Technologist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Before that, he was Special Advisor for Small Satellite Missions at NASA Headquarters.
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).
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."
"I use remote-sensing techniques to study soil moisture in various wavelengths, particularly through microwaves. I use this information to improve estimates of soil moisture in weather prediction models, or simulations."
"I’m an atmospheric chemist, which means I study the composition and chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere."
"One of my main responsibilities is leading the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team."
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."
Sue Smrekar – Scientist
"Research is my passion. I love trying to understand how planets work."
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 – Planetary Defense Coordination Office
"My job is all about trying to find the asteroids before they find us."
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.”
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."
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."
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.”
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."
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."