Inspirational Quotes from Ellen Stofan

By | August 24, 2016

It’s part of the human character to want to know what’s over the next hill, to want to know what’s beyond.

Ellen Stofan

To unambiguously settle the questions of whether there was life on Mars, it will take scientists down on the surface.

Ellen Stofan

We’re going to understand that there is life on other bodies in the solar system.

Ellen Stofan

Every time I give a talk, I ask the audience – especially if it’s kids – how many want to go to Mars. At least half raise their hands. I don’t think there’s going to be any shortage of volunteers.

Ellen Stofan

One of the big things about space exploration is that it is as expensive as it is complicated, and you need all the countries of the world to help if you want to accomplish big goals.

Ellen Stofan

Everybody has busy lives, but you can tell people, ‘Go outside and look at the night sky. We’ve been able to demonstrate that every star you see probably has a planet around it.’

Ellen Stofan

What we expect to find, certainly in our own solar system, are probably simple single or multiple-cell forms of life. To get to intelligent life takes stability of conditions over huge, long periods of time.

Ellen Stofan

I always like to say just think you were a doctor with only one patient. You might understand how that person gets sick, how they get better, but you understand nothing about the progression of disease or how humans in general get ill. Now take an Earth scientist: you only have one planet to study.

Ellen Stofan

Humans can actually read a landscape, go through a lot of rocks – crack them open, throw them, pick up the next one. Rovers are great – they do amazing science – but it is a lot more tedious process; they go much less far than a human can cover in a day.

Ellen Stofan

We like to talk about pioneering Mars rather than just exploring Mars, because once we get to Mars, we will set up some sort of permanent presence.

Ellen Stofan

So many people I talk to who work in technology, you ask them, ‘What got you interested in science?’ and those from my generation say, ‘The Apollo landings.’

Ellen Stofan

Being able to have a laboratory on Mars, being able to have some sort of sustained human presence on Mars in the future, I think, is critically important for science.

Ellen Stofan

If you think of the Apollo capsule coming into Earth with a parachute, the Mars atmosphere is just so thin, you’ve got to find some way of slowing yourself down really rapidly.

Ellen Stofan

My key aim is to get man on the surface of Mars by the mid-2030s.

Ellen Stofan

I live an hour from NASA’s HQ in Washington, D.C., and sitting in a jam stresses me out.

Ellen Stofan

To avoid congestion, I get up at 5:10, grab a slice of raisin toast, and leave the house at 6 A.M. My husband, Tim Dunn, who works for an environmental agency, is still asleep when I slip out, and I find that rather annoying.

Ellen Stofan

We’re not going to get humans to Mars until at least the mid-2030s, and the world is going to change by then.

Ellen Stofan

With the mission to Mars, the whole world wants to get involved. So we actually have 13 different space agencies from around the world working on the global exploration road map.

Ellen Stofan

We want to make sure we get living astronauts to the surface of Mars.

Ellen Stofan

You see countries like India really investing in their space program because they see it as inspirational and good for their economy.

Ellen Stofan

When we go to explore, we do it as a globe.

Ellen Stofan

People see space as a place where you go and cooperate.

Ellen Stofan

I wish someone would redo ‘Dune.’

Ellen Stofan

There’s a huge question of whether you really need water for life.

Ellen Stofan

A lot of my role is advocacy, and as a scientist, you’re an advocate, too, because you are coming up with a theory and having to convince your fellow scientists that you’re right.

Ellen Stofan

Instead of being able to look at smaller interesting research projects, I am trying to see the links between all the research NASA does. For me, that’s extremely fun because I get to go play and learn about areas of science that I know nothing about.

Ellen Stofan

Communication is an issue where we can improve, and if I can do anything to help, I am happy to.

Ellen Stofan

When you look at Venus and the Earth, they formed at about the same place in the solar system. They’re made of about the same materials; they’re about the same size.

Ellen Stofan

Prior to Magellan, due to the fact that we knew it was so hot on Venus, we thought that the rocks at the surface would behave more plastically, more like Silly Putty than like solid rock in the way that we think of it, like the rocks that I’m sitting on.

Ellen Stofan

We have to ask, ‘How can we break a huge challenge like sending humans to Mars into a series of doable, affordable steps? How can we break that problem down into chunks in order to keep making progress?’

Ellen Stofan

The public has an incredible capacity for appreciating the wonder of our planet, our solar system, our universe.

Ellen Stofan

As a card-carrying space nerd and NASA’s chief scientist, I love space movies, from ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Star Wars’ to my all-time favorite – ‘The Dish’, an Australian comedy that celebrates that first moment when Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the surface of our moon.

Ellen Stofan

Mars missions will require up to three years in reduced gravity, so we need to make sure astronauts can not only survive but thrive as they move outward to explore this new world.

Ellen Stofan

As we visit Mars multiple times, we will build up infrastructure on the surface to expand the capabilities and reach of humans on Mars.

Ellen Stofan

The Martian’ may be fiction, but at NASA, we are working to make it a reality.

Ellen Stofan

We actually look to the scientific community to kind of come back to NASA and tell us what the priorities should be. And then at NASA, we try to look within our budget and say, ‘What can we accommodate, and what are the most important things for the nation?’

Ellen Stofan

As chief scientist, it’s sort of my job to look at bridges between what we do and to see the connections. But when we try to understand how are planets around other stars habitable… to looking back at the Earth – how are the changes that are taking place, how are they going to affect humanity?

Ellen Stofan

I’m actually a NASA brat. My father was a rocket scientist. He started working at NASA before it was NASA in 1959.

Ellen Stofan

I grew up in this business… A lot of my life has been centered around this question about how NASA is helping us to understand our own home planet… and to understand our place in the universe.

Ellen Stofan

If I had an unlimited budget, I would really be probing that question of life because we know what the questions are, and we know what the destinations are.

Ellen Stofan

Mars was this water-based planet, and we know there was stable water on the surface for a long time, which is critical for life having a chance to develop.

Ellen Stofan

Water-based life is very much an Earth-centric view, and we can push the envelope on that here in our own solar system. We have the methane seas of Titan.

Ellen Stofan

I’m so biased to this issue of the origins of life and the limits of life.

Ellen Stofan

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