Prime Video’s ‘A Million Miles Away’ is a biographical drama film that follows the life and career of Jose Hernandez. Belonging to an immigrant family of farmworkers, Jose dreams of one day going to space. He wants to be an astronaut and has the brains and brawn for it. Over the next thirty years or so, Jose does everything that would lead him to be selected for NASA’s space program. Every decision he makes pushes him in that direction, eventually leading him to exactly where he wants to be. By the time Jose gets to go to space, he is already a father of five children. Because the film focuses on Jose’s journey, we don’t get to see much of his children. If you are wondering whether they are now, here’s what you should know about them.
Where are Jose Hernandez’s Children Now?
Jose and Adela Hernandez have five children: Julio, Karina, Vanessa, Yesenia, and Antonio. When Jose went to space, the eldest, Julio, was fifteen, while the youngest, Anotonio, was only six years old. The kids grew up watching their father work hard for his dream and having grown up, they are following their own dreams with the same dedication.
While his other kids have taken a different route, Jose’s eldest son is on the same path as his father. Julio has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Science. He earned his Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University, where he enrolled after discovering in his research that “the greatest number of astronauts graduated from Purdue University.” All of this is a part of his plan to become an astronaut.
Julio credits his father for the hard work and ethics he has. To become an astronaut from a migrant farmworker, there has to be so much fortitude and drive to achieve history, and I’d like to think I have a little bit of that,” he said. Like a lot of people who are inspired by Jose’s story, Julio believes if his father could do it, why can’t he? Moreover, why can’t he go farther?
Julio has dedicated himself to the plan and jumps on any opportunity to get him closer to the goal. In 2021, during his doctorate at Purdue, he participated in one of the Mars analog missions, where he lived in a simulated Martian habitat for two weeks with five other students at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, owned and operated by the Mars Society. “Participating at the Mars Desert Research Station gives our team a chance to get as close as possible to an actual mission in space, with a good amount of realism. I’m excited for the opportunity to test myself in a simulated environment of a mission to Mars,” he said.
While Julio is focused on his scientific pursuits, Jose’s third child, Vanessa, has turned her attention towards other things. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Vanessa is active on social media platforms and uses it to talk about her father’s journey and the impact it has had on her family and inspire the entire Hispanic community. She speaks Spanish and has spent a semester in Mexico to stay in touch with her roots.
“I graduated in 2019. It took me a full year to really take a step back and be like, ‘I’ve heard my dad’s stories so much in my own life that I haven’t actually really been listening.’ I think when I started to really think about it is when we started making TikToks together and seeing how much it really connected with other people and how much he was an inspiration to others. And I just thought to myself, he can inspire all of these people and get such a positive response to his story. If he can do it, I can do it,” she said.
Today we are celebrating my daughter’s virtual graduation from my, and now her, Alma mater UC Santa Barbara in Statistics and Data Science! On to her Masters! Celebrando la licenciatura de mi hija Yesenia Marisol! Ahora a seguir con su Maestría! Padre orgulloso! pic.twitter.com/qbvCKrj46r
— Jose Hernandez (@Astro_Jose) June 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Jose’s fourth child, Yesenia, has a Bachelor’s in Statistics and Data Science from UC Santa Barbara and a Master’s from the University of the Pacific in Data Science. The youngest, Antonio, enrolled in the University of California, Merced in 2021. Hernandez is equally supportive of all his children and their dreams. “The only requirement I give my kids is that I want them to graduate from college with a four-year degree. I don’t care if it’s underwater basket weaving. If that’s what you love, knock yourself out — just graduate from college. I certainly don’t put the pressure on them, saying, ‘Hey, you have to be like your old man,’” he said.
Yesterday we drove to drop off our youngest son, Antonio, to start his college undergraduate studies at @ucmerced! Today, the lawn needs mowing, I miss my son already!!!! @UCPrezDrake Hoy llevamos a nuestro hijo más joven a iniciar sus estudios universitarios! pic.twitter.com/Xd0y8oJxRH
— Jose Hernandez (@Astro_Jose) August 22, 2021