Planetary Protection Engineer
Dr. Moogega (pronounced Moo-ji-gae) Cooper received her B.A. in Physics from Hampton University in 2006. She then enrolled in Drexel University where she received her Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in thermal fluid sciences. Her dissertation studies involved non-equilibrium plasma sterilization of spacecraft materials so it was a logical transition to work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Planetary Protection Group. She has been at JPL for 11 years, working on spacecraft to include Mars Science Laboratory, In Sight, Mars 2020 as the Lead of Planetary Protection, and the Europa Lander concept. She is currently the 353NGroup Supervisor of the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group. Her passion is education and outreach as well as developing sterilization capabilities that could potentially be applied to the returned sample from Mars.