David Draper
David Draper
David Draper (Left)
Deputy Chief Scientist, NASA

Humboldt State
B.S., Geology (1985)​

  • NASA's deputy chief scientist, Draper use his planetary expertise to send astronauts to the moon and, from there—it's hoped—to Mars. These missions, he believes, allow us to learn about our world and fulfill the basic human need to explore.
  • Draper, NASA and international partners are now working together under Project Artemis, in which astronauts will return to the moon for the first time since 1972. During their extended visit, their goal is to research unexplored areas and test technologies and resources that will help send them to Mars.
  • Draper and other scientists have also proposed a separate project, the Inner Solar System Chronology Mission, which would allow them to study the age of samples taken from younger parts of the moon.
  • During his time at HSU, Draper's professors taught not only the material, but also taught him how to learn and to examine a problem from all angles. Those critical thinking skills pay off in planetary science, which depends on studying other worlds without knowing the full story.
  • Originally intending to be a music major, Draper changed his mind in a community college science class in which he learned about Mount St. Helens. When the volcano erupted, he knew then that he wanted to pursue Humboldt State's rigorous geology degree. ​

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