MOOGEGA “MOO” COOPER
A real-life guardian of the galaxy, Moogega “Moo” Cooper holds the awesome responsibility of keeping the Red Planet safe from any of Earth’s contaminants. Cooper is the planetary protection lead of the famed NASA 2020 Mars mission. Her work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is integral to the ongoing mission to discern whether Mars could be habitable for humans and to ensure that we don’t harm the planet—a job she has been working up to for most of her life.
After graduating from high school at 16, Cooper studied physics as an undergraduate, received a master’s degree, and went on to earn her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at 24 years old, with a dissertation on spacecraft materials.
Cooper is passionate about empowering organizations and others to achieve their dreams and overcome obstacles. A role model for women in science and technology, she is also passionate about introducing more people to the wonders of the STEAM world. This includes talking about her work to children from underrepresented communities and appearing on shows like Because Space and Bill Nye Saves the World.
Cooper is a recipient of several awards, including the NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal, the Charles Elachi Award for Exceptional Early Career Achievement, and JPL Voyager Awards for Technical Leadership.