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Alberto Behar - Investigation Scientist
November 16, 2009

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Name: Alberto Behar
Job Title: Investigation Scientist
Education: Doctorate in electrical engineering from University of Southern California (astronautics minor); two master's degrees in systems engineering and computer science
NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Hobby: Commercial helicopter pilot and instructor, scientific and rescue diver
 

Tell us about the project that you are working on now.

What attracted you to a career in robotics?

What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?

What prepared you for your job?

Were you a participant in any NASA opportunities as a student? If so, please tell us about it.

What advice would you give to students interested in a career in robotics?


Tell us about the project that you are working on now.

I'm working on several projects. The first is helping integrate the Russian Water Sensor on the next Mars rover. Some of the others are:
-Antarctic Ice Borehole Probe: A probe for accessing deep into ice boreholes. This project will involve the final assembly and programming aspects needed to control three cameras in an existing video probe. The probe will be tested in Antarctica on the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf.
-Deep Ocean Hydrothermal Vent Biosampler: A sampler for in-situ filtering of high-temperature hydrothermal vent water, with the goal of eventually conducting biological analysis on the filtered material. This project has implications relating to future astrobiology missions, on Europa (moon of Jupiter) or Titan (moon of Saturn), as well as fundamental Earth science questions.

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What attracted you to a career in robotics?

I enjoyed the fact that in robotics you have to be aware and skilled in several areas in order to get systems working: mechanical, electrical, systems and software. The variety in each of the robots is also intriguing since it keeps the field fresh.

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What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?

There are several highlights that usually consist of seeing something we developed working in the field. This could be an ice probe that is a kilometer in ice, a vent sampler functioning at 2 kilometers deep in the ocean, or a balloon gondola sending back data at 35 kilometers up in the atmosphere.

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What prepared you for your job?

Lots of time in school through undergrad, master's and Ph.D., and having good mentors that allowed me to learn with hands-on projects.

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Were you a participant in any NASA opportunities as a student? If so, please tell us about it.

I was in the JPL (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) co-op program as a student and was also in the Graduate Student Researchers Project.

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What advice would you give to students interested in a career in robotics?

Try to get involved in a lab that is building robots, either as a paid worker or volunteer.



 
 
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Alberto Behar - Investigation Scientist
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Page Last Updated: February 27th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator