IMPORTANT! To provide a personalized LatinLife experience, please enable your Geolocation

20 year-old Yair Israel Piña Lopez could be the first Mexican on Mars

Shopping & Technology By Mariel Delgado // 2/20/1712029 views
20 year-old Yair Israel Piña Lopez could be the first Mexican on Mars


He's made a name for himself here on earth, now he's reaching for the stars - literally.

Yair Israel Piña Lopez has been making a name for himself in the science world ever since the 20-year-old Mexican native first walked into a physics lab and started tinkering with unique thermoluminescent materials,

Now, it’s looking like the UNAM (Autonomous National University of Mexico) student may get the chance to leave his mark on a whole different world, a different planet actually: Mars.



Piña Lopez has already made headlines for being NASA’s youngest ever student researcher.  

His research in physics has won him dozens of awards, and even contributed to the first flight test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will one day (hopefully) put a man on Mars.


Artist simulation of the Orion take off


Starting in April, Piña Lopez will be part of an exclusive team that will spend two weeks training in Mars-like conditions at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS).

As it turns out, the barren deserts of Utah, where the station is located, are not that different from the rough red surface of our neighboring planet.

The team of six, called LATAM1, will be living as if they really were 33.9 million miles away, across the black gulf of space.

Outfitted in full-body space suits complete with fishbowl helmets and oxygen tanks, they will practice collecting data and going about their daily business while in a pseudo-alien environment.



Scientific Researchers at the Mars Desert Research Station


In a recent statement, Piña Lopez said:

“It fills me with pride to be able to carry the flag of Mexico on such an important mission, and make the first mission to Mars a real possibility.”.”

NASA’s Orion mission is still a long time and a several hundred tests away, but this advanced training puts Yair Israel Piña Lopez one step closer to being the first Mexican on Mars.

One step for one man; a giant leap for Latinos everywhere.