Metalhead Scientist Lujendra ‘Luju’ Ojha Helped Discover Flowing Water on Mars
The worlds of metal and science are both celebrating Lujendra 'Luju' Ojha, a 25-year-old Nepalese-American member of the team that recently confirmed the existence of flowing water on Mars. Ojha is also a death metal musician, which got him so much attention that NBC wrote a piece on the Georgia Tech PhD candidate.
Luju used to be in band called Gorkha based in Tucson, Ariz. He was one of two guitarists whose influences included Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Devildriver and Slayer. Check out the music of Gorkha at Unsigned.com.
"Certainly it's a great achievement for me and for the whole team, as well," Ojha told NBC News about the Mars discovery. "I am receiving great messages, which is encouraging me a lot. I am really feeling grateful." Among those who have congratulated the scientist / musician include Senator John McCain and the U.S. Embassy Nepal:
"My main research interest is understanding the evolution of terrestrial planets. I am passionate about studying present day geological features on planetary bodies across the solar system. I have worked on Earth, Mars, Moon, asteroids, comets and have also classified various meteorites," Ojha writes on his personal website. "With the profound knowledge that I am a unified mind and body composed of stardust, I am not doing science, I am merely trying to understand my genesis and share that knowledge."
Ojha first saw evidence of water on Mars back in 2011 while studying at the University of Arizona. He led a team that discovered flowing water on Mars this week, as confirmed by NASA. In his spare time, he studies earthquakes in Nepal.
As for his death metal days, they seem to be over for now. "That was an old life," Ojha told CNET. "I was kind of in poverty with music. I wasn't making enough money so I said screw music, let's go to science, maybe there's more money in it. But there isn't money in science either."
Congrats again to Luju for his achievements!
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