Sep 14, 2021 - Science

Latinos get NASA to Mars

Diana Trujillo during a 2019 conference in California.

Diana Trujillo during a 2019 conference in California. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Recent missions from the space agency have been made possible with the work of Latino and Latina engineers.

Details: Aerospace engineer Diana Trujillo moved from Colombia to the U.S. speaking no English. She paid her way through school by working as a housekeeper. She is now a lead scientist for the Mars Perseverance rover.

Driving the news: Hernandez, O’Farrell and Trujillo will be among the recipients of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Awards this October.

  • They follow Latinas like Sylvia Acevedo, one of the first female NASA engineers, and Ellen Ochoa, who was the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center.

What’s next: In October of next year, NASA plans to launch a space telescope to try to find the universe's first galaxies.

  • Mexican optical engineer Margaret Zoila Domínguez has been one of the key team members.

Yes, but: Last year only 7% of NASA employees were Hispanic or Latino, the second-lowest ethnic or racial group in the ranks of the space agency.

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