Dr. Nicola Fox, who has the coolest job on the planet! This year she was named NASA’s head of science, responsible for a whopping $7.8 billion budget and over 100 missions – including the exploration of far-off galaxies to unveil the mysteries and secrets of the universe.
As the first Briton and second woman to ever hold the position, Fox had never dreamed of working for NASA when she was growing up in a small English market town.
Fox shared in a recent interview with Texas Standard that her love for space began at a young age. When she was just a few months old, her dad sat her in front of the TV and gave her a running commentary as Neil Armstrong made his way across the moon. Her dad says this inspired her to study space, and the rest is history.
Fox has been involved in NASA-adjacent activities for a while now. Beginning her career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center before moving to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. She then moved to NASA’s headquarters, where she led the heliophysics division. This division focuses on studying everything related to the sun and how it influences our solar system.
Now, as head of science, Fox gets to work with her heliophysics family, as well as lead planetary and astrophysics, biological and physical sciences, and earth science. Together, they explore the secrets of the universe verything from our own star and solar system to those faraway galaxies captured by the James Webb telescope.
NASA’s mission to dig deeper on the secrets of the universe
NASA has some pretty cool missions in the works that you might not know about yet. Later this year, the Psyche mission will launch, studying a specific asteroid with lots of heavy metals in it. We’ll learn more about what it’s made of and what it could mean for mining asteroids in the future.
Parker Solar Probe is already up there right now, getting closer to a star than anything has ever done before, unlocking the secrets of how our own star works. In April, the Tempo mission will launch, taking high-detail images of the whole of North America to track pollution and help us protect our planet.
There’s so much more to come, too.
The Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopter have been taking amazing images of Mars. Also, we’re designing a mission to retrieve the first 10 samples of Martian surface. OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth in September with samples taken from the asteroid Bennu. These samples has some of the building blocks of our solar system.
All in all, Fox’s job is pretty darn exciting. She’s passionate about science. And, we’re lucky to have her leading the way as we continue to explore the secrets of the universe.
DO’H – A Final Thought
Hey there, fellow space enthusiasts! As I wrap up my thoughts on Dr. Nicola Fox’s cool job at NASA, I can’t help but wonder. What secrets of the universe do you hope we uncover next? With so many exciting missions and discoveries in the works, it’s an amazing time to be a part of the space exploration community. So, what are your thoughts? Let’s keep the conversation going and continue to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers.