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Palestra | Reaching for New Horizons

Bowman, the New Horizons mission operations manager, covers her career voyage through the scope of NASA’s historic first mission to Pluto – which culminated with a flyby of the distant dwarf planet on July 14, 2015. Starting with her childhood passion of absorbing and following space news, she carried her love of science and technology through college and into an early career that included research on drugdelivery systems, crafting computer simulations and working with infrared detectors that peered into the deepest reaches of outer space. Those were among the experiences that prepared her for the challenges of New Horizons: operating a small robotic spacecraft that had to travel farther than any mission ever to reach its main target; planning for (and dealing with) long-distance technical hiccups; and keeping a team focused over a decade-long operation across the solar system. Her advice to the next generation of scientists and engineers includes: choose a career that you have passion for; don’t pass up an opportunity because it’s outside of your comfort zone; explore and learn about different things; know that hard work pays off; and don’t be limited by your dreams.