Women@NASA: Spanish to English

Women@NASA and Science4Girls

As part of the celebration of National Women’s History Month, on March 28, 2013, NASA en Español broadcasted a Google+ hangout in Spanish with two Hispanic scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event, organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), was part of the NASA Science4Girls initiative and the result of a collaboration between NASA and several libraries. The collaboration is designed for school-aged girls and their families to participate in various activities in order to encourage them and interest them in science careers.

During the one-hour long interview, Dr. Erika Podest, Earth scientist, and Dr. Michela Muñoz Fernández, principal investigator and systems engineer, shared their stories and careers at NASA. They answered questions from the public regarding what they do, its importance, and the steps they took to join the space program.

Dr. Podest is part of the Earth Science Division at JPL. Her work involves the use of satellite imagery to study climate change on Earth. Among her various tasks, she is currently working on the Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, mission, which aims to launch a satellite in 2014 to improve our understanding of the water cycle and our ability to better manage hydrological resources. Dr. Podest also runs a project that uses satellite data to study wetland ecosystems in the Amazon, in order to better understand their contribution to the global carbon cycle. For more information about Dr. Podest, please visit here.

Dr. Michela Muñoz Fernández is a principal investigator at JPL. She has also worked as a systems engineer and science payload engineer of instruments and operations for the Juno mission. She was responsible for overseeing the development and delivery of the satellite instruments, as well as the planning of testing and scientific observations of the instruments during the operations phase of the mission. Juno offers a fantastic opportunity to image the structure of Jupiter in a way that was not possible before, allowing us to greatly advance our understanding of the formation of giant planets and the rest of the solar system. Dr. Muñoz Fernández currently directs a research project for mission analysis and conducts research on optical communications in deep space.

To watch the Google Hangout in Spanish, please visit the Spanish translation.

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