Maxwell Fagin

Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY


Principal Investigators: Pete Worden and Al Weston
Project: Design of a low-cost Phobos Impactor Misson

Education and Experience:
I've been fascinated with space for as long as I can remember.

Living in Colorado, I've been in a perfect position to indulge in this fascination. The thin, cold, dry air at 6000 feet produces fantastic conditions for viewing the stars, and the wide open spaces provide a perfect platform to launch model rockets.

When I was 13, I received a copy of Robert Zubrin's "Exploring Space" as a birthday present. And since then, I have developed a specific fascination with the planet Mars. Zubrin's writings (along with his earlier book "The Case for Mars") have been the biggest literary influence on my love of space exploration. My life goal is to participate in the colonization and terraforming the red planet.

My undergraduate experience consists of a joint program between Vassar and Dartmouth College. At Vassar, I work with the small but exceptional Physics and Astronomy department, and will be graduating this spring with a double major in Physics and Astronomy.

I'm also spending my junior and post-senior year at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering, working towards a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering. At Dartmouth, I work in the physics department's Lynch Rocket Lab on the design and manufacture of CubeSat payloads. We launch our payloads on high altitude balloons and sounding rockets to conduct in-situ particle counts of the ionosphere, as well as to study wind patterns in the upper atmosphere. My contribution to these payloads has focused primarily on mission operations, communications, and payload assembly.

NASA Academy is a dream come true for me. When I first heard about NASA Academy, I was convinced that it was a perfect experience, and could not possibly be improved upon. But everything I hear from those who have completed the program continues to one-up my expectations. I can't wait to immerse myself among people who have dedicated their lives to pushing the edges of human exploration; as well as work with those who share a passion for space, and a desire to see the day when one of us can put a boot print on the surface of Mars.

Ex astris, scienta. Let's get to it!

Extra-Curricular Activities:
Outside of science and engineering, my next love is theater. I love being on stage, especially in a comedic capacity, and I have performed in at least one major theatrical production each semester since my first year of high school.

I also enjoy science fiction, amateur astronomy, hiking, cross-country, kite boarding and skiing. Member of: The Mars Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Radio Relay League, International Thespian Society.