The Spanish native has participated in more than 20 international projects
and 15 expeditions, offshore and in-land, to places like Antarctica, the
Dominican Republic and the Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Her love for the universe came at a young age and from a strong desire
to understand how the Earth, solar system, galaxy and universe work.
Dr. Martos, who lives by the motto: “I didn’t come this far to only come this
far,” sees the same sense of wonder she had as a child in elementary school
children she visits with. They are engaged and believe in limitless possibilities
without regard for economic status or gender.
To measure biological contamination, Yearicks looks for spores; hardy
structures formed by certain bacteria in order to survive harsh environmental
conditions. Spores are extremely resilient, which makes them the most likely
form of terrestrial life to be able to potentially survive on another planet.
Her contributions to space exploration are palpable as evidenced by
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter—Ingenuity is the first aircraft in history to
make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.
During its assembly, Yearicks took planetary protection samples of
Ingenuity’s legs, blades, solar panels, and avionics in order to make sure it
was biologically clean and ready for flight.
She has come a long way since she witnessed a rare meteor shower as
a young girl in awe.
Dr. Yasmina Martos
Assistant Research Scientist
Goddard Space Flight Center
University of Maryland College Park
Dr. Yasmina Martos, an Assistant Research Scientist at Goddard Space
Flight Center, likes to say she has a scientific “double life”: one on
Earth and one in space. On Earth, she specializes in polar regions,
mostly Antarctica, and in space, in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, which is the
region around the planet that acts like a shield against the Sun’s particles. She
works with data from the Juno magnetometer instrument as part of the Juno
mission to Jupiter.
While there are big differences in her “lives,” the best part is that she gets
to study the magnetic field in both cases. On Earth, the magnetic field
provides data about what lies beneath the surface and ice. There is much less
known about Jupiter, which is why Dr. Martos works to understand the
interaction between Jupiter and its moon lo and the particles that travel
“I try to understand how the moon lo and Jupiter’s magnetic field
interact or communicate using, for example, electrons. We have learned many
new aspects of the magnetic field in giant planets thanks to Juno,” says
Dr. Martos. “Understanding magnetic environments helps us understand if
planets have the potential to contain life. Very recently, the Juno mission was
extended until September 2025, which is fantastic.”
Ali Guarneros Luna
Program Manager for Tipping Points (TP) and
Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO)
Under Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) from
The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)
Ali Guarneros Luna is a model example of dreams realized with grit and
perseverance. The mother of four went back to school to fulfill her dream
of becoming an engineer at NASA working on small satellite
technology. Today, she plays a critical part in the team charged with developing
technology for missions to the moon and Mars.
It all started with her love of reading books while growing up in Mexico. An
encyclopedia that showed a space shuttle attached to a launch pad captured
Guarneros Luna’s imagination. She discovered that aerospace engineers designed
the spacecraft and became intrigued for life.
That fascination led her to NASA and her current role as senior NASA
Aerospace Engineer supporting the Small Satellite Technology (SST) Program at
The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), managing the Tipping Points
program and other small satellites.
“We’re focusing on going to the moon again and I supervise the
infrastructure for communication relay from Capstone Mission Cislunar Autonomous
Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment with another
satellite already on the moon,” explains Guarneros Luna, who migrated to
California at 14 years old.
14 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle V ol. 27, No. 3, 2021