Dr. Moogega Cooper
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Sharing stories from her extraordinary career as leader of planetary protection for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and her work on the famed 2020 Mars mission, Dr. “Moo” Cooper inspires organizations and individuals to build strong teams, overcome obstacles, and push beyond their limitations.
As the real-life “Guardian of the Galaxy,” Dr. Moogega (Moo-ji-gae) “Moo” Cooper holds the awesome responsibility of keeping the Red Planet safe from any of the Earth’s contaminants. 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 what’s already there—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 sterilizing spacecraft materials.
Cooper is passionate about empowering organizations and others to build resilience, overcome obstacles, and achieve their goals. A role model for women in science and technology, she also loves introducing wider audiences to the wonders of the STEAM world. Through her work talking to girls and boys from underrepresented communities and appearing on shows like Because Space and Bill Nye Saves the World, Cooper is helping to build the next generation of strong leaders.
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.
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