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D. C. Golden
Principal Scientist
Johnson Space Center

Likes/Dislikes About Career

The best thing about my job is that I work on something I like, it is almost like getting paid for doing your hobby. The worst thing is not having any real soils from Mars. Space-related things do not happen overnight. They are costly and require national-level planning. So we will have to wait until the nation is ready to launch a sample-return mission to Mars.


As a kid I enjoyed nature and outdoors. I always liked to play with other kids and travel. I had an interest in science, but the thing I liked most was nature. I used to observe ant nests, birds, snakes, fish, plants and whatever was in my surroundings. As I grew older (high school) I developed a liking for math and chemistry. This is due largely to two dedicated teachers who taught these subjects.


I am married and have a 13-year-old daughter who is a talented artist. I used to do biking as a child but now the main outdoor activity for me is walking or jogging. I also enjoy swimming when I get the time. I am a person who likes spicy food. This may have something to do with my Asian heritage. Being in Texas there is enough of it available around here.

I was born in Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean. I completed my schooling and college there. Being an agricultural country, naturally I was interested in learning something to do with agriculture. I did my graduate studies at North Carolina State University, a reputed agricultural school in the U.S. I know achieving one's goal is not easy or straightforward, but one thing I learned is that if you keep working at it you will get there eventually. One day I hope to work on real martian soil samples and hope that day will arrive sooner than I think.

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