Colombian aerospace engineer Diana Trujillo continues to inspire Latina women across America who dream to work for NASA.
On Thursday, Trujillo narrated, for the first time in the Spanish language, the landing of a NASA spacecraft on Mars. She is currently the leader of the engineering team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory that is responsible for the 7-foot robotic arm of the Perseverance rover and was selected as flight director for the Mars 2020 mission.
Despite hitting a huge milestone in her career, the path to success was not an easy feat for Trujillo. At the age of 17, Trujillo came to the United States with $300 in her pocket and didn’t know how to speak the English language. When she first arrived in California, a job in NASA didn’t seem fathomable to her.
While growing up in Columbia in the 1980s, Trujillo’s love for space has always brought her a sense of peace. “Where there was a lot of violence, looking into space and looking at the sky, it is something that gives one peace, regardless of where you are,” she told The Times Hub.
“You lie on the floor, you look at the stars and the starry sky. It’s just spectacular and it’s passive, and you don’t see the stars hitting each other,” she continued. “So I always wondered how that works, how is it that stars, planets can coexist together and not have chaos? And that’s where it started for me.”
Trujillo was the first Hispanic immigrant woman to be accepted into NASA Academy. In the future, Trujillo wants to continue to inspire the next generation of women and give back to her community.
“I want to be in the place, in the room, when we find that there was life on the surface of Mars. I do not want to miss it. But after there I think there are many other projects that I am doing,” she said.
“I want to see if I can start working with the astronauts to go to the space station and probably when it’s time to go to Mars or the Moon first,” she added. “And after that, also look at how I work with the organization that I am in at the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which is an organization to help women get into space companies when they are in college.”