The Team

Ship Location

San Pedro, USA

Jason Kapit

Photo of Jason Kapit
Science/Data Team
Research Engineer
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

I specialize in optical sensors and mechanical engineering. My particular interests are in building sensors to monitor the physical chemistry of the ocean, including greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) and salinity. I am also interested in deploying these sensors on autonomous robotic platforms.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I was initially interested in space exploration and had the fortunate experience of working on one of NASA's Mars landers. This experience sparked my interest in building new technologies for exploring extreme environments. There are many similarities between exploring space and the exploring the ocean since many of the robotics and sensing techniques are similar. So I eventually decided to try ocean exploration since I felt there was a more direct connection to how it affects peoples lives on Earth.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My high school physics teacher and my father inspired my interest in science and engineering, and numerous other mentors and colleagues placed their confidence in me and encouraged me to succeed.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

I have always liked the idea that we can build instruments that give us a greater understanding of the world in which we live. Inventing new sensors and platforms to perform new science is critical to advancing our knowledge of our world.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

In graduate school, I had the fortunate experience of working as part of the science team for NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. In this role, I helped plan the science activities of the spacecraft and analyze the data from the experiments the spacecraft performed on Mars.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Tufts University, 2009
Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, Tufts University, 2006

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy surfing and lampworking.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Find a way to get involved! Volunteer in a research lab! Start a team or a club and build something!

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

I have helped engineer two of the science instruments being deployed on this trip.