Boricua Planeteers 🇵🇷
The Boricua Planeteers is a networking and public engagement group for Puerto Rican (i.e., Boricua) scientists in the space and planetary sciences, broadly defined, and includes but is not limited to planetary science, astronomy, astrophysics, and the geosciences. Our vision is to promote Boricua science by increasing the visibility of Puerto Rican scientists and engaging the public in scientific discovery. Visibility comes with mentoring and networking, as we work towards increasing the representation of Puerto Ricans and Latinx in the sciences. Engaging the public comes with removing the stereotypes and cliches of Puerto Ricans and Latinx that have traditionally created road blocks for many (e.g., unconscious biases).
We are the Boricua Planeteers!
Meet the Team!
Feel free to reach out to us for mentoring, networking, job opportunities, or more information. And follow us on Twitter!
Staff Scientist, Lunar and Planetary Institute, USRA
Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas
B.A. in Physics, Mathematics, Alfred University
Research Interests: Investigates the evolution of Solar System bodies through impact cratering, atmosphere-regolith interactions, and planetary radar techniques, with an emphasis on past and present habitability.
Key Words: Icy Satellites, Mars, Astrobiology, Early Solar System, Impact Cratering, Numerical Modeling, Planetary Radar, Water on Mars, Volatile Transport
From Arecibo, PR; currently living in Houston, TX; fluent in Spanish and English
Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico Humacao
Director, UPRH Astronomical Observatory
Ph.D., M.S. in Physics, Ohio University
B.S. in Applied Physics, UPRH
Research Interests: Characterization of Near-Earth Asteroids, radiation recoil effects on the dynamical evolution of asteroids, scale-dependent measurements of meteorite strength and the implications for the fragmentation of PHAs.
Key Words: Near-Earth Asteroids, YORP effect, Yarkovsky effect, meteorites
From Guayama, PR; currently living in Humacao, PR; fluent in Spanish and English
Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico Arecibo
Director, Planetary Habitability Lab
M.S., B.S. Biophysics/Theoretical Physics, UPR Mayagüez
Research Interests: Suitability of planetary environments for life, habitable exoplanets, radio astronomy, orbital dynamics, and theoretical ecology.
Key words: Astrobiology, Exoplanets, Habitability
From Vega Baja, PR; fluent in Spanish and English
Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech
Postdoctoral Scientist, Dartmouth College
Ph.D. Geology, University of California, Davis
M.S. Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington
B.S. Astrophysics, B.S. Geology, University of Wyoming
Research interests: Reconstruct past planetary surface processes and climate by integrating sedimentologic, geomorphic, and spectroscopic observations from field studies, lab experiments, and remote sensing data with numerical modeling.
Key words: Sedimentology, Geomorphology, Mars, Polar environments, Neoproterozoic Earth, Habitability, TIR Spectroscopy
From Aguas Buenas, PR; Currently living in Hanover, NH; fluent in Spanish and English
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute
Ph.D. in Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology
M.S. in Aeronautics & Astronautics, Standford University
B.S. in Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Research interests: Studies the climate dynamics of terrestrial atmospheres through the use of atmospheric models; involved in instrument development to observe atmospheres and surfaces both in situ and remotely.
Key words: Atmospheric Dynamics, Planetary Climate Systems, Atmosphere-Surface Interaction, In Situ and Remote Sensing Instrument Development, Mars, Titan
From Atlanta, GA; family from Caguas, PR and Juana Díaz, PR; currently in Boulder, CO; fluent in Spanish and English
Electrical Engineer, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Ph.D. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
B.S. in Computer Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
Research interests: techniques for developing robust electronics for space, modeling and testing of radiation effects on semiconductor devices and circuits, design of satellite communications systems, utilizing lasers to mimic the effects of energetic particles on electronics in space
Keywords: radiation effects, radiation-hardened electronic design, semiconductor physics and modeling, radiation effects testing
Andy López Oquendo
Ph.D. Candidate in Astronomy and Planetary Science, Northern Arizona University
B.S. student in Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao (2019)
Research Interests: Cobble distribution on surfaces of near-Earth asteroids, planetary radar techniques, rotational rates of NEAs and small body dynamics in the inner Solar System.
Key Words: Near-Earth Asteroids, Planetary Radar, Optical Observations, Numerical Modeling
From Humacao, PR; fluent in Spanish and English
M.Sc. student in Geological Sciences, Arizona State University
B.S. in Geology, Texas Tech University
Research Interests: Investigates the validity of the planetary embryo bow shock model as a chondrule formation mechanism through dynamic crystallization experiments
Key Words: Meteorites, Chondrules, Planet Formation, Early Solar System, Experimental Petrology
From Jacksonville, FL; Parents from Bayamón, PR; currently living in Phoenix, AZ
Bryan Rodriguez Colon
Ph.D candidate Geosciences, University of Kansas
M.Sc. Geosciences, University of Kansas
B.S. in Geology, Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Research Interests: Investigates the role of microorganisms in the nucleation and mineralization of dolomite under low-temperature conditions.
Key Words: Aqueous Geochemistry, Geomicrobiology, Geobiology, Astrobiology, Life in Extreme Environments.
From Manati, PR; currently living in Lawrence, KS; fluent in Spanish and English
Carolina Rodriguez Sanchez-Vahamonde
Mission Operations Specialist, Malin Space Science Systems
M.Sc. student in Geology and Planetary Science, University of Western Ontario
B.S. in Geology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Research Interests: Investigates martian lava flow analogs and impact craters on the Moon and Saturn’s icy satellites
Key Words: Planetary Radar Geology, Planetary surface processes, Remote Sensing, Mars geomorphology
From Jayuya, PR; currently living in London, ON, Canada; fluent in Spanish and English
Carlos A. Estévez Galarza
M.Sc. student in Physics, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras
B.S. in Theoretical Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Research interests: Investigates the daily and seasonal role of absorption in Mars’ water cycle; develops a biodegradable water-absorbing technology, optimizing the efficiency of plant growth systems and preventing the waste of potable water.
Keywords: Theoretical Physics, Thermodynamics, Numerical Modeling, Atmosphere-Surface Interaction, Mars, Development of Space Technologies
From Mayagüez, PR; currently living in San Juan, PR; fluent in Spanish and English
Kevin N. Ortiz Ceballos
B. S. student in Physics with a concentration in Philosophy, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras (expected 2021)
Research interests: Radio and magnetic characterization of stellar environments and systems to determine their suitability for life, near-field cosmology and galaxy evolution, theory of high-energy physics and cosmology
Key words: Astrobiology, Habitability, Radio Astronomy, Cosmology, Theory of Physics
From Toa Baja, PR; Fluent in English and Spanish
Yashira M. del Valle-Rodriguez
B.S. student in Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao (expected 2019)
Research interest: Rotation Rates of NEA’s
Key words: Planetary Science, Near earth Asteroids, Optical observations, Numerical Modeling
From Caguas, PR; currently living in Las Piedras PR; fluent in Spanish and English
Eng. Felix Omar Fernandez Rodriguez
Analog Systems Engineer, Arecibo Observatory
B.S. and M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
M.Eng. Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Research Interests: Analog electronics, RF, microwave devices
Key Words: Receivers, cryogenics, Front end, LNA, MASER
From Caguas, PR; fluent in Spanish and English
Marcos Jusino Maldonado
B.S. student in Physics, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
B.S. in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San Germán.
Research Interests: Studies the possible origins of life through the Abiogenesis Zone, stellar habitability, prebiotic chemistry and habitable exoplanets.
Key Words: Astrobiology, Astronomy, Biology, Prebiotic Chemistry, Habitability, Exoplanets.
From San Germán, P.R.; fluent in Spanish and English.