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Beth Jens

NASA engineer

NASA engineer

Out of this world

NASA Engineer Dr Elizabeth (Beth) Jens is making interplanetary travel a real thing

Growing up in Torquay, country Victoria, Dr Beth Jens was always fascinated by space. Watching the classic space movie Apollo 13 as a 12-year-old cemented her passion.

Beth also loved physics, so she studied a dual degree in engineering and physics at uni.

Her end goal? To make it to NASA. Beth’s perseverance paid off, and she began her Masters in Aeronautics & Astronautics at Stanford University in California in 2011.

During her PhD on hybrid rocket combustion and its application to space exploration missions, Beth spent

time at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on her research.

“It was highly challenging as a foreigner, particularly in a field like rockets, with potential military applications,” she says.

Beth now works full-time at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab across two projects: improving performance of a mini rocket (about the size of a shoebox!) for interplanetary missions, and working on a subsystem of the NASA Mars Rover, due to launch in 2020.

– Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Beth’s pathway to becoming a NASA engineer

> > Bachelor of Eng (Mechanical)/Bachelor of Science (Physics), University of Melbourne

> > Summer Space Studies program, International Space University, NASA

> > PhD Aeronautics &Astronautics, Stanford University, California

> > Propulsion engineer, NASA


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