University of Arizona Grad Helped NASA Discover Water on Mars

UofA grad Lujendra Ojha accidentally saw water on Mars, helped NASA with discovery

Lujendra Ojha used to be a heavy metal guitar player. Now, as the Arizona Republic’s Anne Ryman reports, “he is a rock star in the study of outer space.” His claim to fame? Discovering water on Mars.

“It was mostly accidental,” the 25-year-old said of that discovery in the Arizona Republic, which led to NASA’s announcement yesterday confirming evidence of flowing water on Mars.

Ojha earned his bachelor’s in geophysics and planetary science at the University of Arizona in 2012. He then went to Georgia Tech to work on his Ph.D in planetary science where he is expected to graduate in 2016.

The Arizona Republic reports:

The key discovery, published this week in ‘Nature Geoscience,’ re-writes the history of a planet that was long thought to be only a desert. The discovery attracted international attention, with Monday’s announcement billed as ‘NASA to Announce Mars Mystery Solved.’

More from the story:

“All of my family went to the University of Arizona, so we have a big U of A heritage,” he told the Arizona Republic. “I went to Tucson High School. Tucson is my home. My parents are still there”

It turns out Arizona is equally as proud of him.

According to the Arizona Republic, “Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday officially recognized Ojha, signing a special recognition that says Ojha’s discovery ‘is billed as a significant step to learning more about the history and climate of Mars.’” The proclamation also lauded the University of Arizona as:

home to some of the best space exploration and observation laboratories in the country.

Read the full article here.

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