Juno Woods grew up on the border of Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia. A National Merit Scholar, they pursued a B.S. in computer science at Virginia Tech, minoring in mathematics, Russian language, and philosophy. During this time, Juno also earned their black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and taught it to hundreds of fellow students.
Juno graduated in May 2007, and a few weeks later started a doctoral program in cell and molecular biology (with a concentration in computational biology and bioinformatics) at the University of Texas at Austin. While a student, they researched synthetic biology and published on HIV virology before studying evolutionary systems biology in the Marcotte Lab. During this time, Juno was awarded the National Science Foundation Fellowship. They also started dancing lindy hop and balboa, a hobby they pursued for almost a decade. Additionally, they founded the SciRuby Project and wrote NMatrix, a linear algebra library for the Ruby language, and mentored a number of students in Google Summer of Code.
As a result of the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007, Juno spent a significant amount of time at the Texas Legislature advocating for universal background checks, for the closure of loopholes such as the mental health loophole (81(R) HB 3352, passed in 2009), and against bills that would have forced universities to allow guns in classrooms and sports games. For this work, Juno was recognized by the White House (and, almost as importantly, the Austin Chronicle).
Together with Frances Schenkkan, Juno founded Texas Gun Sense, a 501(c)(3) non-profit which works to provide objective, fact-based research on firearms policy to the public and lawmakers in Texas. Juno was also inducted into UT’s Friar Society.
After completing their dissertation, Dr. Woods chose West Virginia University’s Applied Space Exploration Laboratory for their postdoctoral studies. There they apprenticed to Dr. John Christian, and worked on autonomous rendezvous of spacecraft with asteroids and satellites using LIDAR, as part of a project with NASA GSFC’s Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office.
In 2015, Juno retured to Houston to accept a job at Intuitive Machines. There they worked on a variety of problems in state estimation, spacecraft navigation, and simulation, including Moon Express’s MX-1 moon lander, IM’s Universal Return Vehicle, and the Axiom commercial space station. Eventually, they worked on the navigation, trajectory, and mission design for IM’s own lunar lander, NOVA-C. While in Houston, Juno began training in ballet, flamenco, and contemporary circus. Their primary apparatuses are aerial silks and straps, and they have performed as a stiltwalker.
In late 2019, Juno left Houston to work on guidance, navigation, and control for Open Lunar Foundation’s series of spacecraft. Six months later, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the entire engineering team being laid off; Juno kept going to work, and eventually was re-hired as the Director of Engineering Research and Strategy. There they researched multilateral arms control regimes, collective invention, and open source as related to the space industry.
During this time, Juno founded Translunar LLC to work on GN&C problems. In late 2020, they co-founded Metalunar with Chelsea McMahon, Dr. Phil Metzger of UCF, and Erik Franks to work on challenging lunar engineering problems.
In their free time, Juno makes art, plays the piano, and contributes time to the open source Phase 4 radio project. They have been learning RF engineering and how to use a laser cutter, and are currently building a theramin. They are also a “green dot” in the Black Rock Rangers, providing mental health first aid to the citizens of Black Rock City, and are FEMA ICS-100 certified.