Fernando Mier-Hicks, the Mexican who built a robot that reached Mars


It is part of the Perseverance project; gave a talk at the Universidad Anáhuac Mayab

What sparked the love and interest in technology in Fernando Mier-Hicks, NASA Robotics engineer, was a transformer; there are inside a box of touches. When she was in elementary school, a classmate from her school took her to the classroom and was amazed by this “black magic”.

“For me, that was black magic, how a battery and a lot of wires were going to give you touch and from there I began to investigate electronics more and more,” he said during a talk he gave this August 26 to students of the Anahuac University Mayab.

The doctor in aerospace engineering participated in Entrepreneurial Leadership on Thursday, an event held by the University’s Entrepreneurship Directorate, where he shared his experience of being part of the team that built the Rover Perseverance, a robot that arrived on Mars.

Photo: Screenshot 

Mier-Hicks says his main job at NASA is sending robots to other planets, as well as building spacecraft that visit Jupiter, Saturn and take photos.

The newest and most recent project is Perseverance, a robot that was sent and landed on the red planet in February this year, with the mission of collecting samples and analyzing them and thus looking for signs of life.

“It is the first step in a gigantic saga that humans are facing to bring these samples from Mars to Earth,” he stressed.

The project, he indicated, took more than 10 years to be designed and more than 3,000 engineers have participated in this “technological oasis” that is dedicated to carrying out these types of missions.

“How does it feel to work at NASA?” Asked a student from the university.

“It is pride, I am happy to work in such a specialized center, where we do historical missions that not many people can get involved,” said the engineer.

At the same time, he noted that he is humbled, as he is contributing to these special missions that can trigger many discoveries. “Mixed feelings of pride and humility at the same time,” he says.

On the other hand, he recognized that working at NASA was not one of his main goals, since he saw it as a “guajiro dream” impossible to achieve.

But what he did consider while studying his Mechatronics Engineering career at Tecnológico de Monterrey was studying a postgraduate degree abroad and developing new technologies, something that he could not do in his native country (Mexico).

Then from the first semester, he began to investigate what would be the requirements and procedures that he would have to fulfill in order to apply for postgraduate studies in the United States. “You have to be strategically prepared, it is not just good grades, there are specific requirements and if you know it before it is easier to comply with them,” he said.

He also said that he did research stays over the summers and was eventually accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering.

It was from here that he realized that this “impossible” dream was visualized as something more tangible. “I took off that barrier mentally.” After completing his master’s degree, he applied to NASA and turned out to be chosen.

For the mechatronics engineer, it is a very great advantage to know what one wants and thus to fulfill those “crazy dreams”. That is, study, do an investigation of how you should prepare to meet that goal; starting with the small ones all the way to the largest.

“If from the beginning you already know what you want, you can investigate how to prepare yourself to increase your chances and fulfill that dream, if you want to be president of Mexico from the first semester of your career, you start to investigate what other presidents have done, look at the first step you must take, “he shared.

He also said that to avoid surprises in the labor field, at the end of the studies he recommended investigating how the situation of people who work in places where they aspire to work is. How is the pay, the working day and see if they want to go there and, thus, not wait until they are working there.

“If you start doing your homework on how you want to live in four years, you can investigate and not be surprised, and you will realize the reality of life, that things are harder than we think,” he said.

Therefore, he shared an equation to achieve happiness: “The expectation minus the reality. If they are not the same, you are not going to make them happy, we have to make reality lower than your expectations and not the other way around ”.

Source: lajornadamaya.mx

Mexico Daily Post