A Filipino engineer raised in Baguio was part of the team who ensured the Perseverance rover landed safely on Mars on February 18.
Gregorio Villar was named by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines as a Filipino who contributed to the historical Mars landing.
Villar works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is an entry, descent and landing systems engineer. The group manages the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission.
He has spent the past 7.5 years ensuring that the Perseverance would land safely by building and testing a system that could land a rover on Mars, according to the NASA website.
Both Villar’s parents are Filipino, and though he was born in the U.S., he spent some of his teen years being raised in Baguio.
In high school at Saint Louis University in Baguio, he already showed a high aptitude for math and science, joining competitions to represent his school. He credits his high school education for his foundation in physics and math.