Catalina is Executive Director at Moon Mars Atacama Research
Station, International Operations at Team Synergy Moon (Google Lunar X
Prize Team), and
Founder at Astronaut Teacher Alliance (ATA).
Maria became a space enthusiast in 1969 when the Eagle landed on the moon even though her Home Economics teacher told her that the closest she would get to chemistry was by making a good jar of jam and that the closest she would ever get to NASA was to wish upon a star. Being a good student, she wished upon the star in the middle of the Belt of Orion.
Twenty-eight years later, the summer that the Pathfinder landed on Mars, Maria won her first NASA Fellowship the NASA Specialized Center of Research Training (NSCORT) in Exobiology Fellowship to do research involving the origin of life. In 2000, upon graduating with a BA in Bionomy, she deferred an invitation to the new NASA Astrobiology Institute for a Ph.D. program to earn a teaching credential for middle school math and science so she could have the same schedule as her high school-aged boys.
Since then, she was nominated for NASA Educator Astronaut in 2003, completed the Honeywell Educator Scholars program at the US Space and Rocket Center in 2007, and took flight on the Zero G Corporation 727 airplane complements of Northrop Grumman Weightless Flights of Discovery for educators in October of 2007.
Listen to Maria on The Space Show hosted by Dr. David Livingston. Read As gravity wanes and pressures gain, it’s pain and bane for the brain. Visit her Facebook page. Read her LinkedIn profile.