Hannah Munguia

  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2019

  • University of California San Diego and Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Environmental Engineering and Earth Science, '19

  • Host Institution: Planet

  • Mentor: Ellen Stofan

Hannah Munguia is a senior at the University of California, San Diego, and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography studying Environmental Engineering and Earth Science. Hannah’s professional experience includes interning for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the last three summers. Her first summer was spent working for Mr. Robert Sharrow on mechanical and thermal design for the astrobiology PIXL instrument on the Mars 2020 Rover that will be looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. To build on the experience of her prior summer, her second summer was spent at the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen, Denmark, working on the Mars 2020 Rover micro-context camera and testing parts with analog Martian dust. Hannah’s final summer at NASA was spent working in the Planetary Ices group under Dr. Robert Hodyss and Dr. Christopher Heirwegh. Under their guidance, she was entrusted with her own research project on pyroelectric crystals which further developed the PIRANA instrument in the hopes that it will one day be flown in future planetary NASA missions.

During her first and second year on campus, Hannah was in charge of the SEDS UCSD Aesthetic Structures component of the Vulcan-1 rocket which helped establish SEDS UCSD as the first university group to test, develop, and build a liquid rocket powered by a 3-D printed metal engine. Meanwhile, this past year, Hannah established the NASA JPL and UCSD partnership Sampling Hydrocarbons on Titan group working with NASA’s Dr. Michael Malaska and UCSD’s Dr. Nicholas Boechler to develop a system to sample the chilly -184 degree Celsius lakes on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Throughout her young career, Hannah’s work has explored the unique intersection between planetary science and aerospace technology. Moving forward, she envisions her career in aerospace instrumentation geared towards monitoring the planet to inform the general public and policy makers on how the world is changing in the face of climate change which disproportionately affects low-resource populations. Through her Brooke Owens Fellowship, this summer, Hannah will work on spacecraft development for Planet in San Francisco, CA.