NASA's 'Mohawk Guy' Bobak Ferdowsi On The Perks Of NASA, Space Camp, And His First Kiss


Photo: Twitter/@tweetsoutloud

This is part of our series on the Sexiest Scientists Alive.Bobak Ferdowsi, the mystery man who made waves over the summer for his rocker hairdo during NASA’s Curiosity Rover landing on Mars, has quickly become an icon.

The 33-year-old is a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a jam-packed schedule.

Since he hit the big time during the rover landing in August, he’s been to visit the White House during the state of the union address, walked in the inauguration parade, and even got to meet the First Lady Michelle Obama and the First Dog, Bo.

We’ve dug up a few interesting facts about the mystery “mohawk guy” that everyone wants to know about.

He's a California guy at heart.

His full name is Bobak Ferdowsi. He's 33-years-old, and lives in Pasadena. He's originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and still has family there.

He learned from a nobel laureate.

He earned his bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Washington, and he went to MIT to get a master's degree in the same subject.

While he was a student at the University of Washington he did research under Nobel Laureate Hans Dehmelt in the Department of Physics.

He says his job is out of a movie.

He's the flight director of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Mission at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California, he's worked there since 2003.

He describes his job as similar to Ed Hariss's role in the movie Apollo 13.

He's a Trekkie.

Sorry ladies, he's taken.

'I have a great girlfriend she's put up with me for the last couple years as we put in those 80-hour weeks just trying to get things done. I'm actually just looking forward to spending some time with her,' Ferdowsi said in an interview with @whatstrending.

He's modest.

His hairdo got the attention of the whole world during the landing. He's taken his newfound fame well.

'It's really flattering, and it's cool that in some way I represent or have let people see that NASA can have all sorts of faces and all sorts of looks,' he told The Take Away.

He's patriotic.

His hairdo was meant to be patriotic as well as cosmic: Apparently the original design was supposed to incorporate blue.

He crowdsourcd his latest haircut.

He keeps it fresh.

At the end of August, Ferdowsi updated his hairdo as a tribute to Curiosity's wheels, which are imprinted with a unique pattern that is Morse Code for JPL.

Even the president thinks he's cool.

Barack Obama said this about Ferdowsi: 'It does seem NASA has come a long way from the white shirts, dark-rimmed glasses, and pocket protectors. You guys are a little cooler than you used to be.'

And knowing the president has its perks.

Ferdowsi took part in the second inauguration of Barack Obama (January 2013) marching in the parade alongside replicas of Curiosity and the Orion spacecraft, along with other NASA scientists, as part of the agency's official Presidential Inaugural Weekend. He dyed 'USA' and 'Mars' into either side of his hairdo for the event.

People love him on Twitter.

Ferdowsi's Twitter account, @tweetsoutloud, currently has more than 55,000 followers. He also has an official fan page.

He had his first kiss at space camp.

On Attack of the Show he admitted that 1) he went to space camp when he was younger and 2) it was where he had his first kiss.

He got to experience life on Mars time.

Like the rest of the Curiosity crew, Bobak spent the first few months of the mission living on Mars time. Martian days are 40 minutes longer than Earth days. He wrote a blog about it about a month in:

'That means if we line up our time of day at 9 a.m. here and 9 a.m. for Curiosity on Mars, the next day at 9 a.m. for Curiosity, it's 9:40 a.m. here, and the day after that, 10:20 a.m. So you can imagine within a couple of weeks, 9 a.m. for Curiosity is 9 p.m. here! It makes for some strange hours at work. The whole team is working 'Mars time' so we all end up having crazy stories about eating dinner at 8 a.m., and finding things to do when we're off work at 4 a.m.'

See our full list of sexiest scientists.

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