NASA has named a mountain on Mars after Mexican astro biologist Rafael Navarro.
The tribute comes after the scientist died in January due to respiratory complications from COVID-19. He would have been 62 this month.
“As a team, we decided this would be a fitting tribute to our friend and colleague Rafael Navaro,” said NASA spokesman Paul Mahaffy.
Navarro had contributed to the design of a portable laboratory deployed on Mars. The laboratory is now mounted aboard the Mars Rover Curiosity and is used to analyze air and soil samples.
The scientist was also known for his work on developing systems to detect organic compounds on other planets, as well as his research into the origins of life on earth.
The Rafael Navarro mountain on Mars is located in the north east of the planet, near Gale crater.
The mountain is made up mostly of clay and is scheduled for a visit by the Curiosity rover in 2022.
The family of Rafael Navarro said that they hoped his life would serve as inspiration to Mexican children interested in pursuing careers in science and technology.
Several Mexicans have left their mark in space research at home and abroad. Rodolfo Neri Vela became the first Mexican to leave planet Earth after he launched into space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in 1985.
Other notable scientists at work at NASA include the rocket scientist Dorothy Ruiz Martínez, and Javiera Cerini Silva, a fellow at NASA’s center for planetary science.
Rafael Navarro Gonzalez was born in Mexico City in 1959. He earned a bachelors in biology from UNAM and a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Maryland at College Park. Navarro established the Chemistry Laboratory Plasmas and Planetary Studies at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences at (UNAM).