Ravi Prakash

Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems Engineer - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Texas City High School, Texas City, TX

University of Texas at Austin

B.S. Aerospace Engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology

Masters, M.S. Aerospace Engineering

All About Me

I was born in Texas City, TX, about 30 minutes away from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. I would love going to NASA as a kid. However, it wasn’t until the end of my first year in college that I decided I wanted a career at NASA, so I switched from being a business major at New York University to being an Aerospace Engineering major at the University of Texas! Ever since then, it’s been hard work and determination that landed me a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Now I get to help land a rover on Mars!

My Contributions

Mars Exploration (General)

I have helped plan Mars missions by performing Entry, Descent, and Landing analysis for future Mars rovers.

Mars Science Laboratory

Member of the Entry, Descent, and Landing team. Systems engineer for the heatshield instrumentation (MEDLI – MSL Entry Descent and Landing Instrumentation).

Personal Reflections

What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?

Being a part of the team whose mission is to land Curiosity on Mars has been quite the ride! When we were designing the spacecraft, I was anxious to finish the design so we could start putting the spacecraft together. Once the spacecraft was built and it was being tested, I couldn’t wait for Curiosity to launch to Mars. The almost 9 month trip to Mars has seemed like an eternity, but now that Curiosity is days from landing on Mars, I find myself nervous and excited that the big day is almost here. No matter what happens on August 5th, whether or not the rover is alive on the surface of Mars, having had the opportunity to attempt one of humanity’s toughest endeavors has been something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Looking back on what got me here, it was a lot of hard work in school and great support from my family, friends, and coworkers.

Where are they from?

Planetary science is a global profession.