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NASA Engineer Named in Forbes 30 Under 30 List of Innovators

Clare Luckey, an engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, has been named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 Class of 2024. The other NASA honoree is Katie Konans, audio and podcasting lead at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list is a selection of young, creative, and bold minds the magazine’s experts consider revolutionaries, changing the course of business and society. Forbes evaluated more than 20,000 nominees to decide on 600 business and industry figures, with 30 selected in each of 20 industries.

An image of a person in a yellow striped button down and black blazer with a NASA and American flag in the background.
Official portrait of Clare Luckey. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel 

“To be honored with such an award is truly humbling,” Luckey said. “This is a list of insanely talented people who are shaping the future, and I’m fortunate to be a part of it.” 

Clare Luckey is the co-lead of crew transit operations within the Mars Architecture Team, which is working on the first crewed mission to Mars. In addition to her work on Mars missions, she regularly does outreach in underserved communities to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM and space.

Clare began her NASA career as an intern in Johnson’s Center Operations Directorate, then was hired full-time as an integration lead for cargo resupply flights to the International Space Station. 

Luckey grew up in Southfield, Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science in space weather engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2017, and her Master’s in space architecture from the University of Houston in 2019.

Image of a person in a blue shirt with a NASA meatball emblem and grey pants smiling in front of a grey background.
Clare Luckey, an engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford

“One of my earliest STEM memories was in middle school, when a group of my friends and I participated in a Future Cities competition to design a city on Mars,” Luckey said. “We didn’t win – not even close – but it challenged us to think critically and creatively. I’m extremely fortunate that’s essentially what I get to do that in real life now! I think all kids deserve to have experiences like that, that inspire them to imagine a future beyond themselves. My parents worked hard to ensure that I’d have opportunities like that, especially coming from a place where not many people end up in engineering, let alone at NASA. I’m grateful to them for that.”

“To that end, I think it’s important to have a support system of people cheering you on,” she continued. “I don’t know where I’d be without the many people who have mentored, encouraged, and pushed me since I started as an intern in 2018. I hope to do that for others someday.”