OAKWOOD, Ohio—Bobak Ferdowsi, the NASA engineer popularly known as “Mohawk Guy,” is scheduled to visit the birthplace of aviation and give two free, public presentations Dec. 12-13.
Ferdowsi’s first presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12 at Oakwood High School, 1200 Far Hills Ave. On Saturday, Dec. 13, he’s to speak at 2 p.m. at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The presentations, titled “Mars & Beyond: Curiosity and the Future of NASA,” are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Oakwood Schools Foundation is funding his visit.
Ferdowsi was a member of the NASA flight team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California that guided the Mars Curiosity Rover to a successful landing in 2012. Many scientists and engineers shared credit for the risky, high-profile landing, but Ferdowsi’s stars-and-stripes, Mohawk-style haircut stood out in the mission control room and rocketed him to celebrity.
His fame spread rapidly in social media and helped draw more attention to the mission. President Obama even noted Ferdowsi’s popularity in a phone call to JPL, saying, the famously nerdy NASA engineers “are a little cooler than you used to be.” Later, the White House invited Ferdowsi to sit with First Lady Michele Obama during the president’s 2013 State of the Union address.
Prior to the Mars mission, Ferdowsi was a science planning engineer for the Cassini mission at Saturn. Both missions have a Dayton connection: the spacecraft are powered by Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG)s, a nuclear power technology invented at the former Department of Energy Mound plant in Miamisburg.
Ferdowsi is currently a member of the mission engineering team on the Europa Clipper Study at JPL.