During your visit to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Los Angeles, United States, the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, took the opportunity to promote Spanish aerospace technology and Spanish talent, present in this center that is dedicated to exploring the solar system with unmanned robots, in search of water and life outside the earth, among other things. One of those talents is Mar Vaquero, 36-year-old aeronautical engineer, a native of Gran Canaria, distinguished in 2019 with the silver dog from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, and one of the participants of the Cassini mission to study Saturn.
Mar Vaquero related to the president as the discovery of water on one of the moons of the ringed planet is crucial to investigate the formation of life and also for the future of humanity, insofar as it confirms the existence of resources outside the Earth.
“The ultimate goal is the scientific and technological advance of humanity. This is achieved in many ways, and one of them is the robotic exploration of the solar system, which is JPL’s mission on Mars, and it also has the addition that it also bring us closer to that pioneer dream that it would be to step on Mars, “he said. Marc Costa, aerospace engineer born in Barcelona.
Manuel de la Torre Juarez, Deputy Principal Investigator of the Perseverance mission that arrived at Mars in February 2021, was in charge of the explanations in front of a replica of the rover, equipped for example with an atmospheric sensor designed in Spain at the Center for Astrobiology, dependent on both the National Institute of Aerospace Technology and of the Higher Council for Scientific Research.
In the group of Spanish engineers who work in this NASA center there is also Joseph Silas, chief engineer of the Asthros mission, born in Baeza 40 years ago and who as a young man already dreamed of working for NASA. Silas explained for example how studying the creation of planets and stars can help to better understand how the earth works and how life is created.
A score of Spanish engineers
Spanish scientists guided Sánchez on his visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the JLP for its acronym in English, one of the first launched by NASA in the United States. There are more than twenty Spanish engineers. The laboratory also receives parts designed and manufactured in Spain for its exploration missions, such as the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers launched to Mars.
JPL is also collaborating with the Spanish center of Robledo de Chavela in the triangulation of deep space, as evidenced by the Spanish flag that presides over the entrance to one of its main buildings, together with that of the United States and that of Australia, permanently.
The Chief Executive had the opportunity to learn from the hand of Spanish scientists the work that this center carries out to understand, for example, how planets are created and the availability of water in outer space, or also to improve the weather forecasting system on earth.