Gen Ito
Graduate student in geosciences
Stony Brook University

Never Stop Exploring

By Jasmine Blennau

Gen Ito, a graduate student in planetary science at Stony Brook University, has been working on the RIS4E project for two years, both in remote sensing for Theme 1 and infrared spectroscopy in Theme 2.

In September 2014 he went to Hawaii with Deanne Rogers, the thermal infrared team leader, for what they called reconnaissance field work. The goal of the first trip was to learn the strengths and weaknesses of their instrument so that they could go back to Stony Brook and improve it for the next time around.

Ito moved to the United States from Japan when he was 10. After living in Texas for 9 years, he attended the University of Michigan as a double major in Earth Sciences and Spanish. His three greatest interests are space, the Earth and languages. He is fluent in Japanese, English and Spanish.

Ito has had research positions at the University of Arkansas, University of Minnesota and the U.S. Geological Survey. He said he tried studying biology and environmental science as an undergraduate, but knew he wanted to pursue an education that would lead him to space. He intends to apply for NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program.

“I’m not entirely sure about my dream job,” he said. “Hopefully it’s in space – but I can’t live there for my entire life.”

He looked up for a moment, considering his options. “I’ll have to figure it out,” he said.

“There are lots of mysteries in space and we only know just a tiny bit. It’s exciting to get to know more, just like Christopher Columbus and other explorers did a long time ago about Earth. So never stop exploring.”

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