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Exploring New Horizons with NASA

Published on March 27, 2015

Exploring New Horizons with NASA

Planetary scientist Geronimo Villanueva discussed his research on the planet Mars with students and faculty at Eastern Connecticut State University on March 27. As a planetary scientist at the Catholic University of America and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center, Villanueva specializes in the search for organic molecules on Mars and other icy bodies. He also happens to be Business Administration Professor Emiliano Villanueva’s brother. He is one in a series of Latin American speakers to come to campus, but his lecture took a different focus this time, than prior lectures. Villanueva emphasized his work as a scientist and what it’s like to work for NASA over his experiences as a Latin American.

“NASA is a great place to work, it’s a good environment, very collaborative and diverse, and always welcoming of more diversity.” Villanueva said. A native of Argentina, he went to Germany for his Ph.D. at the Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research, and travels all around the world for his work, while living in the United States.    He was excited to share his knowledge of Mars, home of the largest volcano in the solar system, to a packed room on Friday afternoon. Using dynamic visuals and accessible explanations for the non-scientists in the audience, Villanueva described what is already known about Mars, and what scientists are working on, including getting astronauts to the surface of the planet in the next 20 to 30 years. “NASA doesn’t just need astronauts for this huge project, “he added. “There are opportunities for people from all majors, from physics and engineering, to computer science and environmental science, as well as administrators and people with management experience.”

Written by Kelsey Tuller

Categories: Physical Sciences