Servicing Mission 4 > Career of the Day

My name: Frank
My career: Astronomer

How do I contribute to the Hubble
Space Telescope mission?
I present astronomy to the public through animations, planetarium shows, lectures, press releases, educational activities, web sites, and other avenues.
What or who inspired me to really go after the
profession I am in now?
One summer evening, at the beach, I looked up at the sky through a pair of binoculars for the first time. The difference between what you could see with the unaided eye, and what you could see through a simple pair of binoculars was amazing. As I learned more, through reading and courses and the PBS series Cosmos, I found a subject filled with wonder and a suite of puzzles like no other: how do you determine what is happening trillions of miles away by simply examining the light you receive? There is nothing so inspirational as an intriguing challenge.
What I like about my job:
The best part is the time I get to spend doing a project well: the creative, intellectual, and focused time.
What school subjects do I use at work?
Almost all of them: math, physics, English, history, chemistry, and the arts.
Resources I would recommend checking out to
learn more about my career:
Astronomy Picture of the Day, Astronomy Magazine, PBS NOVA programs and visiting lots of museums and planetariums. An introductory textbook like "Astronomy Today," by Chaisson & McMillan, and, for those who want to look deeper, a more advanced textbook like Frank Shu's "Physical Universe."
What I like to do when I'm not working:
I try to get to my Tae KwonDo classes twice a week. I play with my kids. I take care of the house, yard, cars, and such. I coach soccer. I play games on the PlayStation. I go to movies and watch TV. The usual stuff.
My name: Greg
My career: Animator

How do I contribute to the Hubble
Space Telescope mission?
I am a 3-D animator for NASA's Hubble Space
Telescope program. I create video and
digital simulations with the amazing images we capture from the telescope. Some of my job involves the kinds of computer animation work that some game developers do.
What or who inspired me to really go after the
profession I am in now?
My road to becoming a 3-D computer graphic artist was not a straight path. Growing up, traditional art and stop-motion photography were the primary motion graphic arts. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in communication, with heavy emphasis in technical video production and art.

I had a knack for technical stuff: experimenting with a computer, playing around with mathematical problems, and trying to understand the physics of how things work and communicating it through art. I never felt that I was a really strong technical engineer nor a great artist. My dream was to create special effects, using both sides of my brain.

This dream started to become a reality when I had the opportunity to learn 3-D software at an engineering company that specialized in robotics and robotic simulations. My background in video production, theatrical lighting, and art allowed me to make realistic simulations. Advances in technology enabled me to go even farther on my career path. The development of high-end computers allowed scientists to build 3-D models on the computer, instead of building physical models of things such as spacecraft and exploding stars.

My inspirations are still growing because there are so many new technologies emerging and lots of scientific discoveries to visualize.
What I like about my job:
I really enjoy merging science and technical ideas into moving art. Every project is like a challenge ... and I like challenges! Sometimes I create visuals for people to understand what is really going on scientifically. Professional artists, like me, are constantly developing new views of the science world. Many times I am creating illustrations out of data, to give it meaning for a broader audience.
What school subjects do I use at work?
Math, science, and art design.
Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
Siggraph (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques), trade magazines, numerous books, and web sites.
What I like to do when I'm not working:
I have too many to list here, but I really enjoy outdoor activities, sailing, cycling, yard work, and working with my hands.
Go to the
Be What I Want to Be Web site