Courses by Instructor


Field of Expertise




Dr. Jose Hurtado

Academic Background

Jose was born in Springfield, MA, and growing up in an Air Force family, had the opportunity to live in a wide variety of places, including England and Turkey. He graduated from Vanden High School in Fairfield, CA in 1992, and he then went to the California Institute of Technology where he graduated with a B.S. with honor and and M.S. in geology in 1996. For graduate school, Jose went to the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied the geologic history of the central Nepal Himalaya. For this research, he had the opportunity to travel to Nepal four times for research expeditions to remote field areas. After earning a Ph.D. in geology in early 2002, Jose did a short postdoctoral fellowship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory before joining the faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso in late 2002. At UTEP, Jose established and oversaw a research and teaching program in field geology, remote sensing, and planetary science. Since 2008, after receiving tenure, Jose has become heavily involved in numerous NASA-related activities, including analog field research and astronaut training. As member of the 2009-2012 science teams for the NASA Desert RATS field tests, Jose served as a test subject and crewmember for several 1- to 2- week mission simulations that investigated new rover and habitat technologies as well as procedures for science operations on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. Jose has also been field geology instructor for the 2009, 2013, and 2017 NASA astronaut candidate classes (and was himself a semi-finalist for those NASA
astronaut selections). Jose has also pursued suborbital astronaut training of his own, including the NASTAR suborbital scientist course, the PoSSUM scientist-astronaut course (1701), Survival Systems USA water egress and survival, among others. During 2014-2015, Jose worked for Virgin Galactic in Mojave, CA as an astronaut instructor and life-support engineer. His duties included developing the classroom
and practical (high-G, etc.) training program for Virgin Galactic customers. He is also an FAA -licensed private pilot and remote pilot and certified SCUBA diver. In his free time, Jose likes hiking, camping, running, cooking and brewing beer, hanging out with his family and (many) pets, and travel.

Professional Interests

José is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Geological Society of America (GSA).  In his spare time, he enjoys travel, camping, hiking, running, reading, tinkering with electronics, cooling and brewing beer, and spending time with his family and (many) pets.


PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidate

IIAS Courses Completed

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program, EVA 103; Planetary Field Geology and EVA Tool Development

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