Hi, I’m Bobak Ferdowsi – most folks know me from when we landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, but it’s important to know that I also helped saved the world in Sharknado 3, was a reporter and judge on Battlebots, and a regular columnist in Popular Mechanics magazine.
I’ve moved around a lot, living in the East Bay (go A’s), Tokyo, Seattle, Boston, and now LA. Between work and outreach and my love of food, I travel a lot, and attempt to not butcher the local language (though my English and Japanese are pretty solid, my Persian and Spanish are basically like a 5 year old’s).
I spend a lot of time designing, testing, and operating spacecraft, and over the years, I’ve had the chance to work on the Mars Curiosity rover, the Cassini mission at Saturn, NASA Kepler, which looked for planets around other stars, Europa Clipper, which will go to Jupiter’s moon Europa, and now NISAR, a joint project between India Space Research Organization and NASA that will help us better understand our own changing planet. While I am the lead flight system engineer, trying to deliver a successful mission, my passion is spacecraft failures and understanding what caused them (as well as how to learn from those mistakes).
Outside of work, I strive to reach into classrooms to inspire the next generation to carry on the exploration of the cosmos, and hopefully to see better representation in this industry so that the future includes and serves all of us better. I think that exploration is one of the tools we have to reflect on ourselves and to learn about what it means to share in this experience on Earth. I also show up here and there – most recently on Waffles + Mochi on Netflix, and occasionally consult for television and movies.
My hair is always different colors, and you’ll find me with different patterns shaved or colored in on the sides of my head to celebrate our project milestones. My aesthetic is basically space and vintage clothing. On weekends I enjoy getting outdoors and hiking.
Feel free to reach out.