The Metal Guitarist That Discovered Water On Mars

Lujo sitting beside his Mars findings, (Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory)

Lujo sitting beside his Mars findings, (Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory)

The Metal Guitarist That Discovered Water On Mars

There is no doubt that Lujendra “Luju” Ojha played a pivotal role in finding water on Mars, but what was his life like prior to the discovery? Turns out, before he was a successful scientist— he was a death-metal guitarist.

Ojha devised a new technique to analyze photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and wound up finding evidence of water mixing with salts.

The discovery of RSL (recurring slope lineae), or the flowing salt water observed on Mars, was kind of like my undergraduate thesis when I was at the University of Arizona,” Ojha explained.

In 2011, Ojha and Alfred McEwen, the man who runs the MRO’s high-resolution camera, officially introduced RSL and the possibility of a wet Mars to the world. Ojha eventually moved on to Georgia Tech and on Sep. 28, 2015, he and McEwen came together with NASA to share the news. The findings were also published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Lujendra "Luju" Ojha playing death metal on stage, (CNET)

Lujendra “Luju” Ojha playing death metal on stage, (CNET)

It wasn’t much later that a specific picture on Ojha’s official website began to raise curiosities. The photo depicts the young scientist on stage dressed in grunge attire and boasting long flowing hair, as he’s singing into a microphone while holding an electric guitar. In an interview with CNET Magazine Ojha admits that he was in-fact playing in a death-metal band at the time of the photo– once and for all shedding the perception that scientists are all nerds and geeks.

When asked about the change of profession, “Yeah, that was an old life,” Ojha casually told CNET with a laugh.

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.”

Looks like he might still be a ‘rock star’ after all.

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W D King


Walter king is a sushi enthusiast. A cat lover. A star gazer. An ex-skateboarder, with the destroyed knees to prove it. A local boy raised in Hawaii. He spent much of his youth listening to art bell, infecting his brain with all matter of gray area thought provoking ideas like time travel, collective consciousness, and who can forget: Bigfoot. He's a loving husband and first time father. A movie junkie. A cliff diving, mud slinging, midday dreamer. He also kind of dabbles in indie film production, music production, and photography. He is survived by his unflinching whit and dry sense of humor.

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