One of the senior scientists of NASA, Ellen Stofan quit her position at the US space agency to seek other “adventures” according to NASA’s official twitter handle.
During the National Academies’ Space Studies Board symposium held in California in December, when she was at the podium allegedly her placard fell and she exclaimed, “I am leaving in two weeks, so I guess that falling sign is some indication of that,” reported Slash Gear.
In an interview NASA put up on Tumblr, Stofan talked about what she will miss the most working at NASA: ”It’s the people of NASA whom I will miss the most. Everyone I work with is so committed to the mission of this agency—pushing back the frontiers of science and technology to accomplish great things for the nation. NASA represents the best of this country. We demonstrate that with hard work and determination, we can explore the universe, our galaxy, our solar system and our home planet.”
When asked what’s likely to be “the next big thing for NASA science”, she replied:
“Looking across our science portfolio, I think the most exciting area, which actually connects everything we do, is the search for life beyond Earth. People have long wondered if we are alone, and we are now actually going to answer that question in the next few decades…”
In the same interview, on being asked about a solar system destination she is still most excited for NASA to explore and she answered:
“As a planetary geologist, I am most excited by one of the ocean worlds of the outer solar system. Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, is an amazing little world where it rains, and the liquid forms rivers, lakes and seas.”
— NASA (@NASA) January 2, 2017
Stofan was crucial to NASA in strategising for the human Mars exploration. About her greatest achievement at NASA, Stofan said that it was getting the agency to willingly request demographic information in grant proposals submitted by scientists. That information, she said, is important to understanding any biases in how the agency awards those grants, reported Space News.
NASA appointed Stofan in 2013 and she worked there for three years. The reason for her resignation is still not clear yet and NASA has still not opened up on who will acquire Stofan’s position in the space agency.
Picture credit- The Kojo Nnamdi Show