Jason Rhodes est cosmologiste au sein du Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) à Pasadena.
Docteur en astrophysique, il est spécialiste de l'étude de la matière noire et de l'énergie noire.
Il est également candidat astronaute à la NASA en 1999 (Groupe 18) et en 2009 (Groupe 20) mais n'est pas sélectionné.
Il vient ici nous parler de son métier, et de sa passion pour l'espace.
Interview réalisé en 2010
Q : Why have you decide to become candidate for NASA astronaut selection ?
A : I have always wanted to be an astronaut ever since I was a child.
Many children probably share this dream but I simply never outgrew it.
I have always wanted to learn about space and science and explore new areas, so being an astronaut seemed like a natural extension of this curiosity.
Q : What is your job and why have choose to do it ?
A : I am a cosmologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Specifically I study dark matter and dark energy, the dominant components of the Universe.
I have primarily used the Hubble Space Telescope to perform these studies.
However, lately I have become involved in several projects to develop new space telescopes to study dark energy.
In particular, I am interested in ESA's proposed Euclid telescope, a project headed by a French colleague and friend of mine.
I chose my job because I love learning about the Universe and I am fascinated by little-understood phenomena like dark matter and dark energy.
Q : I suppose you would like to go in space. But why ?
A : I would like to go because I always love pushing new boundaries and I think the greatest journey we can make will be the one what eventually moves us beyond the Earth.
I want to be part of the earliest stages of that journey.
Q : Did you think it's important for the mankind to have a step in space, to send man in space and why ?
A : I think there are several reasons.
It is in our nature to always want to explore the unknown and we have a primal urge to do so.
On a more pragmatic note, it is necessary for the long term survival of our species to move beyond a single planet or even single solar system.
Q : What represent for you Yuri Gagarin ?
A : Yuri Gagarin and the rest of the early astronauts from the US and the USSR represent not just heroes in the traditional sense but also professionals who did difficult jobs in the face of enormous pressures due to both national pride and the dangerous nature of the journeys they were taking.
Q : What represent for you Apollo 11 ?
A : Without a doubt, Apollo 11 is the single most important and impressive achievement in the history of the human race.
Q : What is your most incredible space dream ?
A : To some day go to Mars!