Alumna Hosts First Ever Spanish-Language Show for a NASA Planetary Landing

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Photo credit: NASA

Last week marked a milestone for NASA as the Perseverance Mars Rover touched down on Mars, paving the way for future human missions to the red planet.

However, among the many technological milestones and firsts in NASA’s 2020 Mars Perseverance mission, was also the agency’s first ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing.

Hosting this event, was University of Maryland Department of Aerospace Engineering alumna Diana Trujillo (’07).

According to a NASA press release, the show, “Juntos perseveramos,” hosted by Trujillo, featured a prerecorded section featuring interviews with Hispanic scientists, engineers and astronauts from across NASA. Students and prominent Hispanic figures from the world of entertainment, journalism, and politics also sent messages of support, and Trujillo offered live English-to-Spanish translation and commentary during Perseverance's entry, descent and landing on Mars.

An immigrant from Columbia, Trujillo came to the United States at the age of 17, not knowing English and cleaning houses to pay her way to study aerospace engineering at the University of Florida, where she initially enrolled.

While at Florida, Trujillo applied and was accepted into the NASA Academy—NASA’s premiere leadership training program for undergraduate and graduate students—where she met NASA robots expert and then UMD Faculty Research Engineer Brian Roberts, who encouraged her to come to Maryland.

After graduation, Trujillo joined NASA in 2007, working at Goddard Space Flight Center on the Constellation program and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on human and robotic space missions. She would go on to work on the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission, and now the Mars Perseverance Rover Mission.

Beyond her work at NASA, Trujillo has been involved in a number of initiatives and activities to inspire young women of color to pursue careers in STEM.

Watch ‘Juntos perseveramos’ on the NASA en Español YouTube channel.

Published February 23, 2021