Why Did Mark Rober Leave NASA?

On September 8, 2018, Mark Rober tweeted a photo of NASA’s famed Curiosity Rover to the whole of his followers, which today is more than 290 thousand fans on Twitter alone. The image portrays a red circle around the machine as Mark writes, “In this recent selfie from the Curiosity Rover, everything you see in red was my hardware I designed and was responsible for… It was a 3-year effort.”

About Mark

40-year-old Mark Rober is an intelligent and well-known YouTube creator best appreciated for his science-related inventions and experimentation videos. The infamous YouTuber has over 14 million subscribers and regularly uploads creative videos that keep his fans begging for more, like the important video on how to skin a watermelon. Mark publicly describes himself as a “Former NASA engineer. Current YouTuber and friend of science.”

An Engineer

Alongside his career on YouTube, Mark diligently engineered at the United States’ world-renowned agency associated with space: NASA. However, after nine years of working for one of the most prestigious agencies in the world, Mark made the big decision to leave. Many of his fans might wonder, what could have possibly inclined a genius such as Mark to leave NASA?

Life Before YouTube

Mark studied mechanical engineering in college, earning a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Upon graduation in 2004, Mark joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He worked as an engineer at NASA JPL for nine years. For seven of those years, Mark worked on the Curiosity Rover, which is famously known for its exploration of the surface of Mars. In June of 2013, Mark quit NASA and moved on to the adventure of YouTube creation.

Leaving NASA

While it is shocking to hear of a person leaving his career as a NASA engineer to ultimately become a YouTube creator, Mark Rober had his reasons. In 2011, his now-popular YouTube channel was born. Mark made his debut into stardom with a video portraying an intriguing, technical Halloween costume. The costume – a shirt with two iPads connecting through FaceTime to depict a “hole” through his abdomen – earned Mark nearly 10 million views.

The Final Decision

Since that one upload, getting 1.5 million views in one day, things for Mark began to change. While still working for NASA, Mark founded the company called “Digital Dudz”. His nights and weekends became filled with creating a range of costumes easily linkable with electronic devices. Two years later, he sold Digital Dudz to the UK company, Morphsuits, and left NASA. His reasons for leaving consisted of wanting to spend more of his time inventing cool costumes and filming monthly YouTube videos. Mark explains in reference to leaving NASA and moving forward with new ideas, “It’s such a cool opportunity. It’s just one of those things in life, you’ve just got to see what happens.”


Mark’s decision to leave NASA certainly was surprising. Mark Rober’s choice to pursue the avenue of technological costume inventions and experimental YouTube videos encouraged him to leave NASA, but has certainly brought him a long way. NASA might not be his current calling, but Mark’s opportunity to put his engineering skills to work carries on.

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  • Ashtin is an American freelance writer and aspiring editor. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently studying editing at the University of Chicago. Alongside her freelance work, Ashtin pursues the hobby of creative writing. She has a regular yoga practice, a deep love for mystery novels, and a fascination for all things true crime.

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