May 8, 2024

NASA Selects Mesa College Student Samuel Brown for Europa Clipper Intern Program

Samuel Brown joins Mesa alumni Jonny Kim, Mario Romero, and more working to advance space exploration

By Emma Rodriguez

Picture of Sam Brown

Written by Office of Communications staff Emma Rodriguez, with information from Original Press Release courtesy of JPL Life

On May 2, 2024, NASA announced that San Diego Mesa College student Samuel Brown will be among the first 40 undergraduate students to participate in the inaugural NASA Europa ICONS (Inspiring Clipper: Opportunities for Next-Generation Scientists) internship program. He will work with NASA scientists to support the agency’s Europa Clipper mission- which will scour Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, for signs of life under its ice-covered oceans.

In October 2024, the Europa Clipper mission is expected to launch an orbiter across millions of miles to the icy moon of Europa. This moon orbits Jupiter- the largest planet in the solar system. It was discovered by Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer and inventor of the telescope whose discover of Europa and three other large Jupiter moons proved that the Earth was not the center of the universe. Europa gained further importance when, in the 1950s, astronomers realized it may have water ice. And, in 1989, the Galileo spacecraft mission discovered that, beneath the surface of Europa, there may be an ocean with more water than all of Earth’s ocean combined.  The Clipper mission will orbit Europa an attempt to identify whether, in that icy ocean, there exists the potential for life.

Sam will be paired with a mentor, one of the incredible scientists from institutions worldwide that are contributing to this project, to work on this groundbreaking mission from June 3- August 9, 2024. He will be part of the only cohort of interns to work with the spacecraft while it is on Earth.

Additionally, the internship comes with a $12,000 stipend for the duration of the program. Sam will also visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California for a two-day meeting with his fellow students and mentors.

Other Mesa graduates have gone onto space success. Alumni Jonny Kim was accepted to NASA Astronaut Group 22, and was selected in 2020 to be one of seventeen astronauts to train for a possible Moon landing. Fellow Mesa Alum Mario Romero is an Assembly, Integration, and Test Engineer for Intuitive Machines who worked on and named the Odysseus Lunar Lander, which became the first privately owned spacecraft to touch down on the lunar surface when it landed in February 2024.

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sam is an active student and member of the community at Mesa. He serves as a STEM Peer Mentor for math and physics courses, works at the Tutoring Center on campus, and is an Aerospace Engineering Major. He plans to transfer to a UC school once he completes this semester, his final at Mesa.

“I love all things related to space and rocketry,” stated Sam. “I’ve really loved my time here at Mesa, mostly because of all the wonderful people here.”

For more information on the Europa ICONS program, visit:

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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Tags: Internship, Peer Mentoring, STEM, LatestNews, #students, Press Release, NASA