Marina Moreira is finishing her Master thesis in the field of robotics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), after which she will join NASA to work on robots’ grasping and releasing problem in zero gravity.
Passionate about space exploration, Marina has kindly agreed to share her amazing story with me and my blog readers.
When and why did you decide you would be a scientist?
It happened very naturally and gradually. Thinking back, when I was a kid, I would always ask my parents for not very “typical” toys for girls. One day I finally got a remote control car, and the next day I was already disassembling it to see what was inside. But I think that only after entering university and truly discovering the aerospace/robotics field, I instantly fell in love with it, and what was subconscious before became a conscious passion.
What topics are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m writing my master thesis, in which I solve the problem of intercepting an enemy drone automatically (if a drone invades an airport/stadium). I should finish the thesis in a month.
Afterwards, I’ll work for NASA, where I’ll investigate the grasping and releasing problem for a robot in space subject to zero gravity. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, as in zero-gravity the world around us works differently, so mundane tasks become different from what you would expect. Hopefully I’ll contribute to the space field, it’s pretty much a dream came true.
What do you like about your work?
I like the constant challenge of my work and constant learning. Every day is different. I’ll just keep going until there is nothing else to learn, and I’m pretty sure that day will never come.
What has been your biggest challenge studying/working in your field?
The thing about challenges is that once you go through them and look back, if you were to do it again, you’d find them easy. It’s not a bad thing, and every single challenge will make you grow as a person and make you stronger. So usually, if I find something difficult, I actually make an effort to do it until it is effortless.
What is your biggest dream to achieve in your work?
I would like to leave my mark in space exploration, just as vague as that.
What kind of books did you like most when you were a kid?
Mostly adventure/investigation books. I would devour them in a couple of days :).
What would you advise to little girls who wish to become scientists?
If you enjoy robotics like me, try to join a course for beginners or start a low-cost project available online. Talk with people working in the area and ask for advice. Don’t wait until you “grow up” to start investigating your area of interest. The more you learn, the more you discover yourself and what you want to follow.
More information on Marina’s professional background can be found on her LinkedIn page.