Life after ISU MSS: The Thesis Year Experience


By the end of 2017, NASA announced a new approach to its future exploration efforts, focusing on international and commercial cooperation to bring humankind back to the Moon, this, with the ultimate goal of, eventually, expanding human exploration to Mars.

Based on this refocus of the American space program, a need to identify areas of opportunity for Lunar exploration activities has emerged, and the International Space University ISU will contribute to their development through research.

Originary from Toluca, Mexico, Ana Cristina Baltazar Garduño is currently undertaking the MSS Thesis Year, working under the support of NASA and Dr. Louis Barbier from NASA Ames Research Center. After finishing the MSc. In Space Studies (MSS) in September 2018 and having interned at NASA Ames Research Center during the summer, she decided to continue her studies through the Year B part of the MSS program, focusing on identifying potential ideas or concepts of relevance to future lunar and cislunar missions. For the initial phase of her thesis, Ana is examining previous ISU Team Project reports that focused on Lunar related activities. Based on her findings she will formulate a prioritized list with technological and non-technological concepts and ideas of potential high value to NASA’s and the international community’s Lunar/Cislunar mission planning. Subsequent to this, a feasibility analysis of such concepts will be developed, with a focus on the Lunar Gateway.

At the same time, Ana is working as a Teaching Associate at ISU, where she provides support to the Resident Faculty in their daily activities for the MSS19 Program and acts as the leading support for one of the two Team Projects this year: Lunar Base Settlement Evolution, which comes relevant to her thesis research as well.


Photo Credits: Ana Cristina Baltazar Garduno