Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja answers your questions!

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja is the Associate Chief Scientist for Exploration and Applied Research at NASA. In this role, she is the senior advisor to the Chief Scientist for how humans explore and perform science in space.

Throughout her career, she has held so many great roles like the Deputy Program Scientist for Space Biology, lead engineer for two robotic space science missions, trainer for the astronauts, and flight controller in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center. Her parents grew up in rural India before immigrating to the United States.

Thank you to those of you who sent in questions for Mamta to answer. There were so many good questions to choose from, but here are the ones Mamta answered:

do you think that women are better for space and how can we get more women to work in space?

anonymous: what motivated you to learn about space and how did you know that you have a passion and love for space?

incredible_redcurrant: what does this job bring you?

highspirited_king: how did you manage to achieve your dreams?

involved _mood: what astronomical achievement do you still wish to accomplish in your life?

Well done to jubilant_seagull, incredible_redcurrant, highspirited_king and involved_mood, who have each been awarded 3 stars for their questions!

Comments (23)

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  • Did you ever go to space and discover something new in the outer world? How was your first experience?

    1. I agree because I also here that there is no gravity in space and just move without feeling anything.

  • Hello Dr. Mamta Nagaraja
    Very proud of being a wonderful woman. You work as a scientist, which requires strength, toughness, and perhaps daring
    Will it have a beautiful effect on me if you answer me for some of my questions?
    What are the biggest challenges being a female scientist and how was your first trip when you looked at space through telescopes for the first time?
    Can you describe your feeling?
    What drew your attention to this outer world, and do you really think that the world on earth might be linked to the outer world one day?
    Certainly, your view of the world, being a scientist in space affairs, is very different from what we look at. Can you tell us how we look at space and how space looks at Earth?

    1. I agree because Dr.Mamta is a strong lady because being a female scientist is not easy because you need to first get people to believe in you that you are strong and courageous person who knows what she wants.

  • Hello
    What are the negatives that you discover when we stay long outside the Earth?
    What is in interstellar space?
    We hear alot about black holes in space
    Is it true what we here?

    1. I agree because I think the oxygen is one problem one faces since he/she needs to breath. This then will require one to first purchase oxygen and which is expensive.

  • Did you ever face challenges that made you feel you could not succeed and how did you face them

  • Iam happy because I am now talking to you, doctor. I am now talking to someone who understands me. You are a scientist in the field of space. Have you ever been to space? Have you seen planets other than Earth? Have you ever seen the moon and the sun?
    I wonder now, have you had the opportunity to discover something strange that no one has discovered?
    With my wishes for you happiness

  • What are the most important parts of a spacecraft?What is the most important information that you advise me to know in order to become an astronaut?

    1. I think you should first have self esteem,you need to believe in yourself and then go ahead with your dreams.

  • Hello Mamta, I am fortunate enough to be able to talk to you. I want to ask you, all these discussions that were raised in the festivals. Tell me, do they benefit you and what did you benefit from reading our comments and knowing our point of view?

  • Do you ever go to space are you aloud?

  • Hello
    What are the negatives that you discover when we stay long outside the Earth?
    What is in interstellar space?
    We hear alot about black holes in space
    Is it true what we here?
    Did you ever face challenges that made you feel you could not succeed and how did you face them
    What are the most important parts of a spacecraft?What is the most important information that you advise me to know in order to become an astronaut?
    Did you ever go to space and discover something new in the outer world? How was your first experience?
    Do you think we can live on a planet other than Earth? What would life be like there?

  • When we discussed this topic with my teacher at school I liked it, and insist to write today about this point.To be honest, I loved Mamta because she has many jobs and responsibilities. It shows that women have a role in society and that they do not have to be a man in order to be successful, as women are always successful. Mamta responded wonderfully to the questions asked in detail and taught me how to love everything whether on earth or in space. I believe that women are more interested in space than men because they like difficult things and are able to show their name in society, as happened with Mamta, who trained astronauts. Frankly, all her actions inspired me from her strength, personality, and responsibility. Astronomy is the study of celestial phenomena in space. For me, I love space, including it, and I really want to go out into outer space and see the moon, stars and planets, and I want to visit Saturn. I think this is a space achievement, and this needs Great audacity, but Mamta managed without fear.

  • How does being in space makes you feel?
    What inspire you to become a scientist?

  • Hi Mamta,
    It was very inspiring to hear you. My key take-aways from your talk:
    1. Never Give Up - Yes, there would be lot of challenges, situations that would bog you down. Yet, if you are passionate about the work, you do and enjoy it, you would never give up!
    2. Giving Women the Space in Space - You answered it so beautifully Mamta. I loved the way you answered. I have heard about many thousands of girls giving up on education, because they are told education is not important but taking care of home is important. When we hear to people like you, no one would really want to give up!
    My dream is to become a chartered accountant. I am told that it is one of the toughest exams to crack! only 2% of the population clears this exam. But I am sure after being topical talk and hearing from people like you, I would definitely achieve my dream. 6 years from now, I would have become a chartered accountant.

    1. I agree because we need to push harder again and again no matter how many times one has failed.

  • -I have learnt that working with space related forums is not that hard or scary and if she can do it then us girls can also do it.

    -I have changed my mind about the safety of working with space related forums since it seems like she has worked for quite a long time now so if nothing happened to her then it's a safe job.

    -Dr. Mamta Patel has inspired me to see space jobs as a good job since not only has she taught us a lot but she has also helped us to see that there is still hope for women to also work for important big posts. She has also taught us that there are places in the world where women are trusted with big job important opportunities.

    1. Working in very large forums is not easy, but according to the person who works with him, if he has determination and persistence, the thing becomes very easy. There is nothing easy in this life without fatigue

  • I have learnt to lift my self esteem and seeing other people as equal as iam for example she said she said space is for all and women should see space for them in space. Representation is another key in her speech, have also learnt to be curious and go further with my curiosity as I pray for people to welcome all the questions I ask them.
    I have also learnt that it’s good to be challenged because you get to know your mistakes and get to correct them with time. I should also not give up on my dreams even when I fail I should stand strong again and again and changing my dreams is not bad as longer as your getting to the best stage of life.
    Dr. Mamta has inspired me to think more and more so as to get to the end of everything that I want to know about.

  • Hello Mamta, I am pleased to talk to you and to ask you some questions that aroused my passion. I learned from you not to despair and advance towards dreams to achieve them. You went through several training courses to reach this level. Your initiative, your courage and patience made me change my mind. We must do the impossible to achieve dreams, even if we think they are. Impossible because through ancient times they said it is difficult to reach the moon, but one person has ambitions and patience and flew over the moon, and you multiplied your work in space, and this is something impossible from the point of view of other people, but you did it despite its difficulty, so I also learned from you to be patient and determined, but I want to I ask you a question, do you consider this profession a great achievement for you, and how many failed attempts have you made to reach the goal?

  • Hello, what prompted you to become an astronaut?

  • What is the most difficult thing you faced during your practice of the profession and why was it difficult for you?

  • Motivated is how I feel after listening to Mamta's responses. I now feel like at my young age I don't have to have everything figured out. She inspired me to think big and to always know that bad days bring experiences

  • Motivated is how I feel now after listening to Mamta. She made feel empowered by saying that gender does not count to your ability to manage any kind of job. I now think that bad days provides us with experience and not to shy away from my ideas

  • First of all, I loved Dr. Mamta, and I loved her creativity and her scientific method in research and exploration and in the field of space. She also has many positions and jobs, and this in turn shows the role and position of women in society. Astronomy is the science of studying celestial phenomena in space. 1- I learned from Dr. Mamta keenness on science, learning, exploration, interest in research, and perseverance to assume prestigious scientific and job positions.
    2- Her answers are clear, important, and of great scientific value, so my personality became idealistic, persevering, loving science and research, especially in matters that are out of the ordinary, such as astronomy and my love for it.
    3- Dr. Mamta also inspired me with the necessity of research and exploration in the field of space and learning about it.

  • Hello Dr. Mamta Nagaraja
    When did you first identify space as a dream of yours?

  • Hello Dr.Mamta . Thanks for your inspiring responses.Actually,I agree with some of which , learned from some of which,changed my mind according to some which and got inspired with some of which.
    To tell the truth,it was quite interesting to know that the most important reward you might get from such a job is to be as able to think deeply of how we can be able to solve some complicated issues.I also changed my mind about the idea of having less women in this field of work.In fact ,I used to believe that males are more suitable for this kind of jobs ,but your answer made me realise that it is not about being male or female ,but rather it's about being qualified scientifically and physically to such kind of jobs. About the the answer that sized my attention as well as interest most, it was easy to tell that to never give up is the greatest response . Though it's very simple,it something related to any field of work or study and any one could take it as a rule for life no matter what is his or her field of work or interest.

  • I learned from Mamta that when we have questions in our mind that we cannot answer, we go to an educated person and ask him, because when a person has information about the object that he likes, he has a passion to learn it