Meet the Writer: Hacker Noon's Contributor Monica Hernandez, Hackernaut and Space Writer  by@monimissioncontrol

Meet the Writer: Hacker Noon's Contributor Monica Hernandez, Hackernaut and Space Writer

Monica Hernandez is a content lead, writer, and creator specializing in quantum information science and technology, robotics, and space. She also writes multimedia and long-format content for U.S. and international businesses in deep tech, such as autonomous spacecraft and robotics. She writes in Spanish as well, and is fully bilingual. She is particularly interested in writing the types of articles and thoughtful analyses that don’t make it to the mainstream. She says writing and creating become like a muscle.
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Monica Hernandez HackerNoon profile picture

Monica Hernandez

Research conducted & personal views expressed are my own. To continue reading, set your coordinates to: moni-07b.space


This story is a part of Hacker Noon's Meet the Writer series of interviews. The series is intended for tech professionals contributing the most insightful Hacker Noon stories to share more about their writing habits, ideas, and professional background (and maybe a hobby or two). If you too would like to start contributing to Hacker Noon, you can do so here.


So let’s start! Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, name, profession, and personal interests.

My name is Monica Hernandez. I’m a content lead, writer, and creator specializing in quantum information science and technology, robotics, and space. I currently work at a national science research laboratory in the United States, focusing on two major centers advancing cutting-edge research and development in quantum computing. I inform the broader public about the latest scientific breakthroughs and technical milestones by writing feature articles and news releases. Physics and engineering-focused news portals have widely distributed some of my write-ups.


Me out and about in Florida. Jan 2022.

Me out and about in Florida. Jan 2022.



Through my business, I also produce multimedia and long-format content for U.S. and international businesses in deep tech, such as autonomous spacecraft and robotics.​ I’ve grown up with entrepreneurs, artists, performers, scientists, and engineers. Hence, it’s an organic progression for me to integrate different disciplines and interests when writing and pursuing diverse endeavors. For example, the photograph in the header is my sci-fi twist on the Saturn V rocket engines at the NASA Kennedy Space Center.


Interesting! What was your latest Hackernoon Top story about?

A propellantless experimental mission to reach Jupiter in 30 days: “Latin America Seeks Its Riches In Space by Reaching Jupiter in 30 Days.

Do you usually write on similar topics? If not, what do you usually write about?

For Hacker Noon, I’m particularly interested in writing the types of articles and thoughtful analyses about the space industry that don’t make it to the mainstream. I also expand into quantum R&D, robotics, and space technologies in my blog MONI-07B. I write in Spanish as well. I’m fully bilingual.

Great! What is your usual writing routine like (if you have one?)

Writing and creating become like a muscle. It gets easier to activate these skill sets the more you use them, so carving out frequent focus times is the best strategy to make it a habit. Essentially, you sit down and write or create without distractions for a defined period — even if you don’t feel like it.


Something important to point out is that I rarely write everything in a single sitting. I let some ideas simmer and percolate so I’m never “off.” Sometimes I mull over and write the article over several days because I get inspired when doing something else or speaking with a colleague or an acquaintance.


I also ask for the help of supportive editors and proofreaders who understand and respect my voice and style but are great at watching out for the reader’s experience. I believe editors are highly-underrated in writing, but I always run my content by an editor specializing in the field before releasing it to the broader public. As a result, I’ve received critical feedback on adding examples or making the changes that make the difference in a solid, well-written piece.


I enable dark mode in my word processors—(yes, you can do this on Google docs, Apple pages, etc.). Then, I start typing the sections, titles, subtitles, and anything to quickly go past the blank page. I find this tactic improves flow and morale as you’re getting started. Starting and finishing are always the hardest to get past!


I’m always reading, anything and everything in between. I never underestimate the beauty of the craft anywhere! Of course, I gravitate towards specific genres more than others, but I'm always reading books, comics, newspapers, leaflets, brochures, ads, graffiti, food labels, technical reports, scientific papers, etc.


Best Used Books, Orlando, Florida 2022. This is a bookstore I shop at.

Best Used Books, Orlando, Florida 2022. This is a bookstore I shop at.



For example, I recently started reading about the Mayan hieroglyphic scripts for an idea I had for an article. So I’ve gone ahead and seen some of the images from the surviving codices (Mayan books), which date to 1000-1200 A.D that were not burned down. It's fascinating to see how they documented their sophisticated knowledge of astronomical charts.

Being a writer in tech can be a challenge. It’s not often our main role, but an addition to another one. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing?

I can’t entirely agree with the premise that being a writer in tech can be a challenge. The Internet redefined the traditional barriers to entry. Anyone can learn how to write and do it well while simultaneously building an audience on multiple blogging, newsletter, and social media platforms. I also don’t see a clear separation in today’s world between tech and non-tech. Every fabric of modern society uses technologies. In fact, the services we commonly use and sometimes take for granted as we go about  our days depend on space tech.


Even the most traditional industries, for example, farming, ranching, and agriculture, are infused with the need for GPS, remote sensing, weather forecasting, and smartphones. I read some original reporting about cowboys and cattle ranchers in Florida at Flamingo (a Florida lifestyle magazine). I was fascinated by how the writer emphasized that smartphones are used out in the open grasslands to weigh, track, market, and sell cattle in online auctions.


So the critical takeaway is that you can find your niche if you know what to look for. Everyone has a unique angle and perspective. You can write about the same topic from a completely different angle. This is why I started writing at Hacker Noon when researching blockchain applications for space debris. Readers were pleasantly surprised to see a different take on two seemingly contrasting topics.


What I believe is a challenge is being able to be consistent writing clearly and engagingly while respecting your subject matter and your audiences. Everything —no matter how complex or sophisticated — can be broken down into its fundamentals.

What is the next thing you hope to achieve in your career?

Writing becomes a process of continuous education and intellectual inquiry, so I allow myself to go down the rabbit hole exploring different topics and ideas. This exploration [or procrastination, however you’d like to call it] enables me to make connections others might have missed. For example, I’ve recently produced and conceptualized my first video game inspired by robotics and space debris. Bringing variety to the mix in my career is what I always hope to achieve. I want to mention that all subscribers to my blog, MONI-07B, get an inside track every month of all my new content and the creative endeavors and different projects being planned before anyone else.


An illustration of my work by Daniela Jiménez, Costa Rica 2022. Find her portfolio: @ninaborona.

An illustration of my work by Daniela Jiménez, Costa Rica 2022. Find her portfolio: @ninaborona.


Wow, that’s admirable. Now, something more casual: What is your guilty pleasure of choice?

I frequently laugh by reading field-specific memes and comics. First, there’s the technical and scientific context you come to understand as you spend more time writing about these fields. And then there’s also the cultural context that comes into play. It keeps me on my toes not to take things too seriously. Even the most brilliant minds in science and engineering are doing funny memes and cracking jokes.

Do you have a non-tech-related hobby? If yes, what is it?

I enjoy hiking, gardening, training, and exercising outdoors with minimal electronics. Being close to nature connects me with my upbringing. I was born and raised in Costa Rica, so I was always surrounded by lush greenery and biodiversity, especially gardens. I used to play and read a lot outside! In addition, I often went to natural parks and biosphere (biological) reserves for school field trips. By some estimates, Costa Rica has 4-6% of the world’s known species in its small territory. As an adult, I prefer to live nearby conservation areas and bodies of water where I can spend time exploring nature.


It’s important to clarify that I don’t necessarily believe there is a clear separation between tech and non-tech in modern life. On the contrary, science and technologies are increasingly embedded in every part of our existence. So for example, satellite telemetry and biometric data collection have been present in Costa Rica’s conservation areas throughout the years to conduct scientific research and experimentation, monitor wildlife, and protect the sites. And then, of course, you’ll find one of the most active space launch complexes, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, located in the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge, an important natural corridor for bird migration.


View of NASA KSC, June 2022.

View of NASA KSC, June 2022.



What can the Hacker Noon community expect to read from you next?

I've got some ideas about niches in emerging space ecosystems i.e., India and Latin America.

Thanks for taking time to join our “Meet the writer” series. It was a pleasure. Do you have any closing words?

I believe anyone can write, so feeling fear or even writer's block due to encountering something new and complex is OK. I also don't believe writing becomes fundamentally easier as the basics don't change. You must continue to hone the discipline, commit and deliver. However, I find the experience becomes more nuanced. You learn to discern subtleties in the material to become a better thinker, listener, and communicator. This search for depth in writing translates to other areas in one's life. Hacker Noon, by the way, is an excellent platform for writers and audiences as they continue innovating and offering improved features for an enjoyable experience.


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by Monica Hernandez @monimissioncontrol.Research conducted & personal views expressed are my own. To continue reading, set your coordinates to: moni-07b.space
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