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Bobak Ferdowsi          

NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs Flight Director; Curiosity Rover Landing

Bobak Ferdowsi is a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He served on the Cassini–Huygens and Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission.

Ferdowsi attended the University of Washington where he majored in aerospace engineering. While there he did research under Nobel Laureate Hans Georg Dehmelt in the Department of Physics. In 2001, he enrolled at MIT and joined the Lean Aerospace Initiative where he stayed until 2003.

Ferdowsi joined JPL in late 2003, and worked on the Mars Science Laboratory mission through its successful landing nearly nine years later on August 6, 2012. He was also Science Planner on the Cassini–Huygens mission.

Ferdowsi became a media “sensation”, or “meme”, during the August 6, 2012, landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, he wore an unusual mohawk hairstyle that was seen on NASA TV’s live broadcast of the event. He was seated in a prominent camera position and his mohawk unexpectedly became an iconic image of the landing. Ferdowsi explained that he wore a new haircut for every mission and the mohawk was chosen by his team by popular vote.


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