Extraordinary stories from the most interesting artists, writers, athletes, and thinkers on the kaleidoscope of Muslim experience.

Season two of This Being Human is proudly presented in partnership with TVO.


Season 2


Farah Alibay speaks more like a philosopher than an engineer. She works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she helps operate the Perseverance Rover, which searches for evidence of ancient life on Mars. She talks about how her job has changed her views of Earth, her rise through a male-dominated field, and why she thinks the prospect of extraterrestrial life raises major questions around how we understand humanity. 



Welcome to This Being Human…I’m your host Abdul Rehman-Malik. On this podcast from the Aga Khan Museum, I talk to extraordinary people from all over the world whose life, ideas and art are shaped by Muslim culture. 


There's a new generation that has a very unique to how they see themselves as young Muslims in the modern world. 


I am this wide-eyed girl. I'm like, I want it all, I want to experience it all.


Everyone has a story. Sometimes you just have to ask and find out what it is.


Like the poem that inspires this podcast, The Guest House, by Sufi poet Jallaludin Rumi, we’re talking to people who seek meaning and joy in work and life…regardless of what the day brings us. Today, we look to the stars with a NASA engineer – and ask what’s out there. 


If there was life on Mars, that means there's life everywhere, pretty much in the universe that we're definitely not alone. And so, what does that mean for us? How does that change our perception of history of our place? If we do find life on Mars, it's going to be a really interesting ripple effect to try and understand how we adapt as a society.


As an engineer with NASA’s storied Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Farah Alibay was part of the team that landed the Perseverance Rover on Mars. It’s not her first extraterrestrial mission, but this one is different – because this time, they are explicitly looking for signs of ancient life. 

Speaking to Farah is like speaking to a philosopher. Her day-to-day job may be about operating a robot and collecting soil samples, but she is deeply engaged with those bigger questions about what it all means – Are we alone in the universe? And if not, what does that mean for our species? What is it that makes us, us?

She joined me from her home in California to talk about all of that, as well as her journey to NASA in a male-dominated field, and why studying Mars has given her a greater appreciation of our own planet. 


Farah, I want you to take us back, if you will, to February 18th, 2021, the day the Perseverance rover landed on Mars. You're at the heart of the team running the mission. What is that moment like for you?

FARAH ALIBAY:  I mean, it's almost been a year and I still get goosebumps whenever I think about that day and that moment. We had been traveling to Mars for seven months and the last seven minutes when you get to Mars are the most stressful, because that's the moment from the point that you enter the atmosphere of Mars, all the way you're having to touch down on the surface of Mars, you're coming in at thousands of kilometers an hour and have to touch down softly. And that entire process is automated. So we, the engineers, we sat there watching, right, like if you've seen the video of that landing day, it's not like any of us were doing anything in real-time. We were looking at data, but we didn't have an ability to intervene and so as engineers, that's a very stressful thing. We like to have our hands into everything and be able to control everything. But for the surface operations team, we wouldn't have had a job if this thing didn't go right. It's like it's a little extra on the line. But no, but in all seriousness, it's the culmination of years of work and thousands of people's worth of work. So, it was definitely a very stressful moment. I often say that those seven, eight minutes were the shortest and longest of my entire life. It was for me, my second Mars landing. But I can tell you, it doesn't get any easier or feel any different every time. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: As someone who thinks about Mars so much -- since Perseverance has landed, have you thought about Mars differently? 

FARAH ALIBAY: Yes, I guess that's a good question. You know, I live more or less on Mars, even though I live here in L.A.. But one big realization that's happened to me working on this mission, and it's weird to say that it took going all the way to Mars to realize this is it made me realize how special our planet is. I think a lot of us idolize Mars or maybe fantasize about the things that we could do there and the exploration that could happen there. You hear it a lot, and I get asked that question a lot, like would you like to go live on Mars or when do you think humans will colonize Mars? Or can we terraform Mars? And you hear all of these questions and people genuinely, I think, sometimes think that we could go live there, especially when they look at our planet and the way things are going. And I'm like, No, do you realize how horrible that planet is? Like, what? And I think that's one thing that when you live it every day, especially when we first landed and saw these first few pictures of Mars, I mean, again, I'd seen them before, but some there was some realization that happened to me personally with this mission, especially as we started driving around and getting to different areas and encountering some of the difficulties that there are just living on Mars that make you realize how special this planet is here on Earth. And I think one of the reasons why it happened with Perseverance and not necessarily when I worked on Insight, is because I think because Perseverance is looking for signs of ancient life and that similarity to Earth. And then you get to Mars and you're like, there's no way there's life here. Like, I mean, we know there's no life anymore, but we also know that the reason why we've gone to Mars is because it used to look like Earth, right? About three, 3.5 billion years ago. So, when you see those pictures and you're like, okay, this used to look like Earth, they used to be twins, and then something happened. You know, there was massive global climate change on Mars that created this kind of desolate, arid place. It makes you value your home planet a lot more. I always knew intellectually that it was important to take care of our planet, that there was no Planet B, that this was the planet where we were. But I think it made me internalize the importance of us as humans, being stewards of our planet and having to take care of it. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: It's so fascinating, Farah. You're one of those few people on the Earth, really, that as you said, you kind of live on Earth, but you also live on Mars because I've read that you actually operate on Mars time.


ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Explain to me how that works. How does one live on Mars time? 

FARAH ALIBAY: So, we only did that for the first three months because it's really intense. So, I'm no longer on Mars time. But I was. And now on what we call adjusted Earth time, and I'll explain what that is. But uh -- so what we do, right, so when you operate a rover on Mars, the rover likes to operate during the day. If you want to take pictures, anything like that, you need sunlight. So, our rover works basically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mars time, which means that we, the engineers that planned the activities for the rover, work during the Martian night, because when we're operating a rover, I'm not sat at home or at work with a joystick driving the rover, that's not how it works. What we do is that we pre-plan all of our activities, and that's because of what we call the light time delay. So, when you send a signal from Earth to Mars, it takes anywhere between sort of 12 and 25 minutes to get there and then another 12 or 25 to get back. So, if we were operating in real time, it would make for very long days because send a command and then like a half hour later, you'd get a reply. So, we preprogram everything. We make a big plan for the rover essentially as a team overnight and then send it to the rover when it wakes up in the morning. It does its thing. It takes data, sends it to us, we analyze it and the cycle repeats. So that's great, I got a PhD to work the night shift on Mars. That's wonderful. And you think, OK, that's fine, you just shift your schedule Farah, what's so hard? Well, the problem is that a Martian day isn't quite the same as an Earth Day. So, Mars, even though it's a third of the size of Earth, actually rotates a lot more slowly than Earth. And so, a Martian day is 24 hours and 37 minutes, which means that even though I start work, or I started work at 5:00 p.m. Mars time every day, on Earth that shifted by 40 minutes every day. So, one day I might be coming in at 9:00, then 9:40 then 10:20. Sometimes you’re coming in at like midnight, 3:00 a.m. Whatever it is. So, you basically get 40 minutes of jet lag every day, except that the Sun doesn't keep up with you and you're waking up at times. So, we did that for three months because that allowed us to operate every day, it's a lot more efficient, but it's also incredibly difficult on the human body, it means that I never saw my partner, my dog was always annoyed at me. It was like, Why am I going for a walk at 2:00 in the morning? So, after three months when we were done with our commissioning phase, essentially, we swapped over and now what we do is when the Martian night, which is when we work, is during the LA day then we work the night shift on Mars. And then when the Martian night coincides with the Earth night here in L.A., then we work every other day to avoid having to work the nighttime. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICEOVER: Farah credits her interest in space with watching Apollo 13. But her path to engineering started earlier than that. Her dad was an engineer, and she’s described him as a tinkerer – someone who would always be fixing things around the house. She was encouraged to do the same.

FARAH ALIBAY: You know, I think I was naturally always kind of curious, I used to take things apart, I remember taking my alarm clock apart and trying to understand how the VHS worked, and there are probably many things around the house that are broken or maybe were already broken and were given to me to play with. And I was like, Oh, let me figure this out. So, it's definitely something that came to me naturally. Yeah, so my dad is also an engineer. He is an electrical engineer. So, when we were younger and we lived in Canada, my parents had their house, our first home built. And I know that my dad was very proud of the level of automation that he put in the house at the time. It seems ridiculous now right as the 90s like, you know, he had a thermostat that worked, which is probably more than most people did. But you know, and he worked on all of the electrical for the house. And I remember even when we were very young, my dad showed me how to change a tire and how to take care of the car and where things were. And we built a swimming pool, and we built a deck together. And I think one of the things that is perhaps surprising with my family, but definitely was very beneficial to me was that we didn't have any really gender roles or norms within my home, which, you know, culturally and for that time was different. I have a younger brother who's two years younger, and yet I'm the one that was helping my dad and learning how to drill but I also was a figure skater. And that was hugely beneficial to me because it allowed me to tinker and be curious and do those things that are not always seen as feminine and not have to worry or even know that that's not usually like a societal expectation. And it meant that a lot of those gender norms that people impose, like I didn't really live them until maybe a little bit until I was in high school or a little bit older, right? When all of a sudden there weren't that many girls in my physics classes and things like that. So, I think that was a hugely beneficial part of my childhood that we didn't have those rules at home. My dad was the one that cooked and he still cooks today and that's kind of rare for an Indian family. And so it's, I was very lucky to be brought up in that kind of environment. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: You know, you've talked about it, Farah, that aerospace engineering, engineering in general, is not the most diverse field, and often a young woman like yourself are not encouraged into that field. As you began to go into aerospace engineering, what was it like in the industry? 

FARAH ALIBAY: Yeah, I mean, it was hard. And I mean, I think we have to be honest about that it wasn't necessarily the most welcoming environment when I started. So, I, you know, after high school went to study at the University of Cambridge and I was born in Canada, I grew up in England and I went to an all-girls school in England, so I was surrounded by, you know, a completely different environment. But I also grew up in the north of England. We are sort of middle-class family. And I had a funny northern accent, which, you know, if you're familiar with England, the people of the south are the richer people. And I remember showing up and just not fitting in because I came from a different socioeconomic background and those people that were coming from these big, huge private schools that lived lives that I'm like, What is this? Are you royalty? Like, maybe but you know, it was kind of I didn't fit already in that socioeconomic background, in that cultural background. And then you show up it in a field of engineering where there were about 20 percent women, let alone like if you're talking about women of color and immigrant women of color, you’re done, there's like one or two of you in a class of 300. And so and so it's really hard to feel like I belong. And so if you take that and then  the fact that, you know, when I started at Cambridge, I was behind because I went to public school, I didn't have the private tutors and things like that that other people had and I remember even my first math class they went through, as you know, a set of principles that are like, OK, like this is just like recapping what you should already know. And I was sitting there. I was like, I know none of this. Like, we didn't learn this in school. Like, where am I? So I think for me, what helped was finding allies, finding people that were going to help me. And that lesson that I learned my first year of college is one that I kept applying through my studies and then once I started work, because that feeling of being othered and being different never really went away. But eventually I realized that that difference of mine, the fact that I had this different background, that I had this different life experience was actually a strength. The fact that I look different means that people remember you, I have a funny accent, a weird name that people don't understand. They're like, Oh yeah, you're that girl. And so now it's extraordinary because I'll walk into meetings and people know who I am, even though I've never met them before, they'll think, Oh yeah, I saw you in the lab or I know of you from whatever. And so, I found that that difference is actually a strength and, and that's true in general, especially in engineering, right? We don't do well with diversity. We are doing better, but we need diversity to be good engineers, to make great things, because when you are doing incredibly difficult things like building a rover that's going to land on Mars or trying to fly a helicopter on Mars, you on a day to day are solving impossible problems. And the way that you're going to solve those problems is by having a team of different people who view that problem differently, who approach it differently and propose different points of view and how to approach. And you know, I always tell people when we have a problem at work, I can't just go to my boss and be like, I have one solution. It's like, No, here's our problem. Here's all five different solutions that we can come up with, and we're going to try one or two of them until they work. And in order to have those different points of view, you need diverse teams. You need people with different experiences. It just took me about 10 to 15 years to figure that out, but you know, we got there eventually. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: What's one piece of advice that you'd give to a younger Farah Alibay that may have helped her to maybe jump over a few steps? 

FARAH ALIBAY: Well, I mean, I think all of the steps that have gone through made me who I am. So maybe just realizing earlier that I wasn't the only one suffering that imposter syndrome, didn't feel like I belong and that there were other people that were going through the same or like, Yes, it's normal to feel this way, but you will succeed and you can succeed in this industry, and people will change and people's views on inclusion will change over time. I think having maybe knowing that would have given me a little bit more hope than I did when I was younger. And maybe telling myself that, yes, those dreams are achievable or it's worth the sacrifices that you're making because you will make it. But honestly, you know, if I went back 15 years in time and told the 19-year-old Farah that where I am today, I don't think she would have believed me. Who knows? She'd be like, Who are you? Go away. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: I've always been fascinated by how our ancestors looked at the past, and I remember in university I became really intrigued by the theological discussions, particularly in classic Islamic civilization, about whether or not we as human beings could pierce the heavens or even visit the Moon or experience the Njoum, the stars, you know, and I'd love to know if you've ever thought about those ancient debates that these emergent scholars and viewers of the universe must have been having and what might you say to them now? 

FARAH ALIBAY: I do think of it more generally in the context of the work that I do because we are asking ourselves a huge question, right like. Basically, we're asking ourselves, Are we alone? That's a question that as humans, we have asked ourselves, probably since the beginning of consciousness, right? We looked at each other. We looked at the stars and it was like, well is there anything up there? What's up? Who are we? What's our place in the universe? And so, I think by default of asking yourself that question, you come to an understanding of fundamentally what that means for humanity and civilization, right? Like what if we do find that there was life on Mars? What does that mean for us here? What does that mean in terms of whether there's life anywhere else in the universe and how does that mesh with our entire belief system that we've built as humans, right? And I think it's going to be groundbreaking. It's going to be shattering, but it's going to be awesome to force ourselves to go through that mental process of like, okay, we were a bit wrong. And I laugh because it tickles me to think of all of these theologians and people that are going to have to think through what this means of, we are likely not unique as humans, and I think we view ourselves as special and unique. But I think if we find life somewhere else, we're going to have to reckon with the fact that, you know, statistically, if there was life on Mars, that means there's life everywhere, pretty much in the universe. That we're definitely not alone. And so, what does that mean for us? How does that change our perception of history of our place? If we do find life on Mars, it's going to be a really interesting ripple effect to try and understand how we adapt as a society. But in terms of exploring the universe, right, when you read a lot of what the early explorers did or when you read a lot of history about how we looked at our place in the universe. You know, theology and science have always kind of been intertwined, and I think I think they were one in the same. I don't really think of them as being at conflict with each other. I think that's something that recently people think that there may be two things that are opposing, but they're really not. It's all about finding who you are and finding what your place is as stewards and as part of this planet. And so, to me, it's not in conflict with what we do, it’s just part of the evolution of science over time and of human understanding.

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: What about intelligent life, we see sort of almost these signs of riverbeds and I guess simple life forms on Mars, and it seems to be almost part of now the understanding that, yes, there was life on Mars, and we're really trying to understand what that life looked like. But of course, I'm a child of Star Trek and Star Wars, I'm a child of the Forbidden Planet, I'm a child of comic books. So, I think about intelligent life out there. What do you think about intelligent life? What are the chances? 

FARAH ALIBAY: [laughs] Well, so you know, on Mars, what's interesting right, is that we do know that there was an atmosphere and a magnetosphere, and we know, for example, we landed Perseverance in Jezero Crater. So, we know that there was liquid water and rivers. So, we know that there were the ingredients for life as we know it. We are not necessarily looking for complex life on Mars because like I mentioned, we know that Mars looked like Earth three billion years ago. Just to give you time scales of, you know what the three 3.5 billion years mean -- our Solar System was created about 4 billion years ago, so it's very early into the creation of our Solar System, which is why we know we're not looking for complex life. We're looking for simple organisms similar to what we might have found on Earth at the time. So, you're right that what we're looking for on Mars is not what we would deem quote unquote intelligent life. However, you know, if you're going to be very pragmatic about it, we are just the result of evolution. And so, if we can show that there was life that started elsewhere with the right ingredients, independently of life on Earth, we already know parallel to that that there are other worlds that look like ours and that have those same ingredients. And so then statistically, with the number of planets that there are, if we can show that the creation of life is not something that's unique, then I would believe that evolution would have happened somewhere else to the point where there would be intelligent life. Now, there's something that's special about humans as a species on Earth is that we're conscious of ourselves. We have consciousness. And so that's a more difficult one to really wrap your mind around right of, like, is that unique? But then if you think about it too much, it gets a little scary because how are we, you know, are we unique? But also like, where are we in our level of evolution? Is our consciousness very simple? I mean, we look at our universe and we only understand a small fraction of it, right? When you look at quantum physics like we understand part of this, part of this doesn't work. So, we're probably wrong and we don't know why. And so, it'd be interesting again if there are other civilizations out there or other beings, where are they in that level of evolution and consciousness? And it could be that there are beings that are way beyond us and that we maybe are mere insects to them in terms of our level of intelligence. And so, yeah, it gets a little scary when you think about it too much. But I think we have to be open to that. And you've probably heard me say also that we are looking for life as we know it. And that's another fascinating concept, right? 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Wow, yeah. No and explain that, unpack that, Farah. That feels like you're about to open a door into another parallel universe of ideas. 

FARAH ALIBAY: We only really understand our own organic life, right, is that – we understand our concept of life as we see it on Earth and our concept of consciousness and intelligence. But that doesn't mean that's necessarily life everywhere or that's necessarily all life, even here on Earth, right? We look for things that take oxygen and create carbon dioxide, right? But then we found life on Earth even that lives on methane or that lives in like sulfuric environments and we're like how is this alive or, you know, so there's different levels of that of like, the life that we're looking for is life that's similar to ours. But there's probably — we've already found evidence that that's maybe not the only type of life that exists even here on Earth. And then there's beyond that of like, Okay, well, what does consciousness mean? And I mean, you could get deep into all that parallel universes and how does this work and…

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Farah, I think you're closer to being a theologian than any one of us. You're asking all the difficult questions. 

FARAH ALIBAY: But yeah, it's interesting because as engineers, you have to satisfy yourself with like, we can only look for the things we know and the theories we know, and we know those are limited. But yeah, if you just start thinking about these things a lot, it's fascinating what we could find or what our limited understanding of our universe and what that means in terms of our place in it, but it's wonderful to be able to start answering some of those questions. And I think it's a special time that we're in because this is really the first time in humanity that we can even dare ask that question of are we alone? And ask it in sort of a reasonable way that we maybe have a good chance of answering it. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: So, Farah, I'm going to give you the title of Ambassador to Earth. Intelligent life is descending towards our planet for the first time. Somehow, because of scientists like you, we've figured out a way to communicate with them. What would you say to them as ambassador of Earth to the cosmos? 

FARAH ALIBAY: It's interesting because, you know, if you go back to one of the things that I find fascinating is the Voyager missions, which are the ones that have left our solar system. And there's on them the Golden Records and I actually have a copy of them on my wall at home. And I think at the time, people had thought about, okay, if we're going to send a message outside of our Solar System, what do we tell? You know, how do we represent humans? So, on the Golden Record, they sent sounds of Earth information about a hydrogen atom and what life on Earth looks like. And so, I think that would be the first conversation to be had if we ever met another civilization, right, is: what are you guys about, and what makes you you? What is your source of life? What is your daily life like? What are the pursuits that you have as a civilization? I think us as humans, right, we would talk about how we care for each other and love and that we try and care for our planet and are dealing with disease and war and I think that would be kind of like the defining traits of our civilization. And it’d just be interesting to see, is that what a civilization is? I think when we see movies like Star Trek and Star Wars or whatever, that's kind of what we see is, oh, we imagine other civilizations that are like ours that struggle for the same things. But I don't know if that's an inherently human thing that we value certain things that maybe are not valued by TBD other civilizations, right? So, I think that that would be the first thing that I would be curious about is understanding what is your value system? How do you cooperate with each other? How is your civilization built? Is it even a civilization? Are we unique as humans that we work together like this, and are we unique as humans that we fight with each other, right, rather than solely working together? So, I think that would be the first conversation to be had for me, at least – and  maybe that's part of my explorer, right? Like I just want to understand, like, I don't, I want to understand what y’all are about.

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: I think it's a beautiful place to start. You know, I was a child of the 70s, so I grew up with Voyager and those disks that carried on them all this information about Earth, including music and sounds and this kind of essential information about who we were. And I remember my mother and father would cut out the articles about Voyager and keep them because they were like tracking its journey through the Solar System and beyond. But I always used to think to myself, what music would I have put on? Like if someone said to me, AR, what music would you have put on the Voyager disk? So, I have to ask you, what music would you have put on Voyager disks? 

FARAH ALIBAY: Oh, I mean, it's -- to represent humanity? That's a hard one. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: It is a hard one, it is. I have one, but you have to tell me yours first. 

Farah Alibay: I mean, for me, probably like a David Bowie song, because that's kind of like representative of me growing up in England and, you know, I think you'd have to put on a Beatles song because it has such a big influence on our life, but. Yeah, I think those would be, you know, two places where I would start. But I think that may just be like my Eurocentric upbringing, right? If I were to do this for real, I would go and sample different cultures. I would look at even like religious songs I think have often um– are more transcendent through our cultures. And they also talk to a lot of our belief systems. I think I would look across, but then sneak in a David Bowie song.

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: I would choose John Coltrane's A Love Supreme

FARAH ALIBAY: OK, yeah, that would be good. But yeah, I think songs that represent the positive part of our humanity would be the right place to start. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: Farah, who or what would you like to welcome into your guest house?

FARAH ALIBAY: Oh, that's a good question. I think in general what I enjoy is conversations, topics, anything that stretches my understanding or worldview. And I think that's what we're doing on Mars. That's what we do through exploration. What I love about what I do is that I don't necessarily expect to find answers. We ask ourselves questions. We have hypotheses, but we, as engineers and scientists, love being proven wrong. If you ever come to my house for dinner, you'll see we have insane conversations about just about anything, but I love it. That's what I love about what we do. And that's what I love about being human is that we can ask ourselves those questions. We are the only species that can do that, that can learn and be proven wrong. So that's what I would welcome into my home. 

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK: What a joy it's been talking to you, learning about your work, but also learning about the incredible lessons and insights that you derive from your work. Farah Alibay, thank you so much for joining us on This Being Human

FARAH ALIBAY: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

ABDUL-REHMAN MALIK VOICOVER: This Being Human is produced by Antica Productions and TVO. Our Senior Producer is Kevin Sexton, with production assistance from Dania Ali and Abhi Raheja. Our Executive Producer is Lisa Gabriele. Mixing and sound design by Phil Wilson. Original music by Boombox Sound.


Stuart Coxe is the president of Antica Productions. Katie O’Connor is TVO’s senior producer of podcasts. Laurie Few is the executive for digital at TVO.


This Being Human is generously supported by the Aga Khan Museum, one of the world’s leading institutions that explores the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world. For more information about the museum go to www.agakhanmuseum.org. The Museum wishes to thank Nadir and Shabin Mohamed for their philanthropic support to develop and produce This Being Human.


Farah Alibay speaks more like a philosopher than an engineer. She works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she helps operate the Perseverance Rover, which searches for evidence of ancient life on Mars. She talks about how her job has changed her views of Earth, her rise through a male-dominated field, and why she thinks the prospect of extraterrestrial life raises major questions around how we understand humanity.

In this episode, Farah talks about:

  • Her involvement in NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover mission, which sought to uncover evidence of life on the Red Planet
  • Lessons she has learned about life on Earth by exploring Mars
  • The difficulties of living on “Mars time”
  • Discovering her passion for engineering at a young age
  • The benefits of avoiding gender norms, and the challenges of entering an industry that lacks diversity
  • Why diversity in engineering matters
  • Addressing the potential existence of extraterrestrial life
  • The potential existence of intelligent alien civilizations
  • Similarities between theology and science
  • How she would communicate with an intelligent alien civilization
  • The music she would share with an alien civilization to represent humanity
  • Why she loves engineering and space exploration


“[The Preservation Rover mission] made me internalize the importance of us as humans being stewards of our planet and having to take care of it.” – Farah Alibay, 6:29

“In order to have those different points of view [to solve difficult problems], you need diverse teams. You need people with different experiences.” – Farah Alibay, 15:41

“What I love about what I do is I don’t necessarily expect to find answers.” – Farah Alibay, 29:51

To learn more about this conversation, AR recommends:

  • Farah’s NASA bio: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/people/3065/farah-alibay/
  • Farah’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/farahalibay?lang=en
  • Farah’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trifarahtops/?hl=en
  • Perseverance Mars Rover Mission: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/
  • Living on Mars time: https://www.space.com/perseverance-rover-mission-on-mars-time
  • NASA’s Voyageur Mission: https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/
  • The Voyageur’s Golden Record: https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-record/
  • NASA and astrobiology: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/about/