NASA engineer Nagin Cox is in Belfast today to give a talk at Queen’s University about her work as part of the Mars Science Laboratory’s operations team behind the Curiosity rover that’s carrying out scientific experiments on Mars. Cox will also be aiming to inspire more women to pursue careers in science and technology during her visit.
Cox, a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is visiting Belfast as part of the U.S. Department of State’s speaker programme.
Her talk at Queen’s University Belfast this afternoon is being hosted by Women in Technology and Science (WITS) Northern Ireland and the university’s Gender Initiative.
Cox will be covering her work as part of the Mars Curiosity rover team at JPL. The rover landed on Mars last August after an epic journey to the Red Planet that started in November 2011. The rover is carrying out investigations over a two-year mission to determine whether life ever existed on the planet.
As well as giving an update on the Curiosity rover’s experiments, Cox will also be sharing insights about her career path and aiming to inspire students to consider science and technology subjects.
Speaking in advance of today’s lecture, she said she hoped her own experiences would help and empower young people as they make decisions regarding their future careers.
Cox joined JPL in 1993 and has served as a systems engineer and manager on many interplanetary robotic missions, including NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration rover missions and the Kepler telescope mission.
“Nagin Cox is a groundbreaking engineer who will show local school students that the sky’s the limit for everybody in terms of careers in science and technology,” said Tom Field, a physics lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.
Artist’s concept depicting the Curiosity rover using its ChemCam instrument to investigate the composition of a rock surface. ChemCam fires invisible laser pulses at a target, which is simulated with a red line. The instrument then views the resulting spark with a telescope and spectrometers to identify the chemical elements. Image via NASA/JPL
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