findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are
those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers
Flight System Engineer
NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Project
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
P2K: Is it something that you're born with, a born ability to do math, is it that you're a natural? Or do you have to work hard at it?
Nagin Cox I really had to work hard at it. My older brother was absolutely excellent at math and science. It came very naturally to him. It did not to me, but I knew that that was a language that I needed to speak to be in the space program, so I worked very hard and I took all the classes that I could and I studied a lot. It didn't mean that I made the best grades no matter how much I studied. But I was interested in the topic and I knew I needed it as a foundation. So even now, I'm still learning about the math and science part. I think that's the best aspect, if it's something you actually use. So it doesn't have to come naturally to be something you can be persistent at.
P2K: What do you like most about your job?
Nagin Cox I think that's a very easy question to answer. When I wake up in the morning, I don't say to myself "oh good I get to go to this meeting today" or "oh good, I get to produce this piece of work". When I wake up in the morning I think, isn't it cool that we're flying this spacecraft to Mars. Isn't it amazing that we're exploring the solar system? No matter what happens in the world, nothing changes the fact that we come together as a world to send a spacecraft to another planet or another body in the solar system to find out what it's like. It's as if the space program is humanity at its very best and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.