Monday, November 17, 2014

Dr. Claudia Alexander, Space Scientist: Landing on a Comet!

A comet soaring through space
Courtesy of By koratmember,
Can you imagine a future in space science? Dr. Claudia Alexander IS a space scientist and in fact is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) team that launched a spacecraft, Rosetta, ten years ago on a historical journey that just culminated last week in a resounding success. The spacecraft carried a lander, Philae, 300 million miles away from earth to land on the comet named CG. 
Rosetta Orbiter Instruments
Rosetta, space orbiter
Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory Website

Rosetta's control section is only about the size of an SUV and the solar wings are the size of s semi-trailer. This amazing machine traversed deep space to send Philae to a soft landing, with a bounce or two, onto the comet's surface. The lander will take soil samples, photos, etc and send them back to the agency so we can learn more about the ancient beginnings of our solar system.
Image of Claudia Alexander
Dr. Claudia Alexander, Space Scientist
Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory Website
Dr. Alexander is  the project manager and project scientist for the U.S. Rosetta Project. The U.S. space agency, NASA, worked with the ESA to bring about this mind-boggling flight and landing. She is well known as a space scientist having been in charge of many projects for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Claudia Alexander, space scientist, didn't always have stars in her eyes. There was a time she wanted to be a journalist. 'But my parents were convinced engineering was the answer! I found it was a lot more fun to think about the flow of water in a river than water in the city sewer, so I went into earth-science and got a bachelor's in geophysics at UC-Berkeley.' Alexander moved on for a master's in geophysics and space physics at UCLA, and a Michigan Engineering PhD in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, specializing in space plasma. It turned out to be a good path. 'I love working in the space program on one-of-a-kind engineering applications, like flying spacecraft, which is really a team effort. There are so many aspects of keeping a piece of engineering working and operating when it's thousands of kilometers away from you. The ingenuity required is amazing.' "

Dr. Alexander has not given up her love of writing. She writes for the "Bleacher Report", an online tennis website, and she has penned many children's books and a novel. She plans to be published in the future. 

Congratulations to Dr. Alexander and the team on the accomplishment of this space project. She is flying from one dream come true to another dream of being a writer. Truly she is a good example to follow--never stop dreaming!

How about you? Do you dream of flying among the stars or creating spacecraft to explore the galaxies? What career do you want to follow? We'd love to hear your dreams and plans. Thank you.


  1. I think I saw something about this on the news recently, J Q. I've always marveled at space, but never really wanted to go up there. Flying in a plane is about as close as I want to get - well, maybe a hot air balloon. That sure would be fun to do! Still, I do love gazing up at the stars and wondering what's out there, dreaming about life on other planets - similar to ours, yet different too. Oh, it's Friday and I'm enjoying hanging here on your blog, drinking my coffee...thanks for this wonderful post that got me thinking and dreaming today :)

    1. Hi MJ, I love space and stars too. Fascinating to have a job like Claudia's. At least we can dream about it and write about it. Looking forward to what they discover from the comet landing. Thanks.