The Mars Czar

When Orlando Figueroa was a child in Puerto Rico, the early years of the space race captured his imagination, and he wondered what it would be like to travel into space. After achieving multiple degrees in mechanical engineering in Puerto Rico and the U.S., he accomplished, in a big way, his childhood goal. He has served as the Director for Mars Exploration and the Director for the Solar System Division in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, and also as the Deputy Center Director for Science and Technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. And he was one of the many people behind the successful Curiosity Mars rover. You can see why he has been given the unofficial title of “The Mars Czar!” Mr. Figueroa came to speak at the Museum recently as part of an event held by PROFESA, the Puerto Rican Professional Association. PROFESA works to help strengthen Puerto Rican community organizations, and is anchored on three pillars: culture, network, and empowerment. Young people from the community who were here to listen to Mr. Figueroa could see not only see that hard work pays off, but also see that with inspiration and lots of determination, you can even become a Mars Czar.

Orlando Figueroa, “The Mars Czar”

The Mars Czar with future professionals

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