Bobak Ferdowsi


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Famous for being the Flight Director, who rocked a Mohawk hairdo during the Curiosity landing on Mars. Bobak Ferdowsi is the man who made members of NASA’s Mission Engineering team, a little cooler than they used to be.

We are proud to announce Bobak Ferdowsi, perhaps NASA’s most famous systems engineer, as a speaker at our festival in May. He forms part of the Mission Engineering team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. At NASA JPL, they are constructing and operating robotic planetary spacecrafts and conducting both Earth-orbit and astronomy missions.


Ferdowsi has majored in aerospace engineering, which was a childhood dream for him. These studies have allowed him to be an Engineer and Science Planner on various space missions. He was Flight Director during the Curiosity rover landing on Mars where he funnily sprung to fame, for rocking a Mohawk hairstyle. After the successful landing, President Obama congratulated the mission team and noted Bobak’s media popularity as the “Mohawk guy”. Social media made him an iconic image of the event, especially after Obama epically commented: “You guys are a little cooler than you used to be”.

His current mission – the Europa Clipper – involves sending a spacecraft to visit “Europa”, Jupiter’s icy moon with a subsurface ocean – thought to be one of the most promising places in our solar system to harbor conditions that could support alien life!

Bobak’s next stop? Well, Jupiter’s moon Europa. But that’s going to take a little while, so in the meantime, make sure you don’t miss his keynote at Pioneers Festival 2015.

AEROSPACE – “DISCOVERING NEW WORLDS” Friday May 29, Arena Stage 17:30 – 18:00


Images via: NASA Needs More Mohawks