Know The Indian-American, Leading NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance

” Touchdown confirmed, Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars,” the moment Dr. Swati Mohan announced the good news, the mission managers and colleagues at NASA filled with joy, excitement, fist-bumps, and start celebrating their hard work.

Dr. Swati Mohan was leading the control and landing system from the control room. Landing the Mars rover Perseverance was ” seven minutes of terror” as dubbed by NASA. But as soon as Swati received the radio signals indicating the successful landing on the Mars’ Jezero Crater, emotions started flooding everyone associated with the mission. 

The Touchdown Moment At NASA 

 ” I cannot tell you how to overcome with emotion I was,” said Steve Jurczyk who is the acting chief of NASA. It’s a proud and historic moment for the US but it is equally a moment of happiness for India as the lead system engineer is an Indian-American born.

Also Read: Indian Startup SpaceKidz To Send Bhagavad Gita In Space

Dr. Swati Mohan- Women In Stem In NASA’s Ambitious Mars Mission

Dr. Swati Mohan’s Parents migrated to the US when she was just one and settled in Northern Virginia Washington. Credit goes to “Star Trek” as it helped Sweta to develop a deep interest in Science and Universe. 

The young 9-year old Swati immediately realized her dream. At the age of 16, she expressed her dream of becoming a pediatrician but her physics teacher advised her to pursue engineering. 

Swati completed a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in the field of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. After graduation, she completed MS and then opted for Ph.D. in Astronautics from MIT. 

She has worked on several NASA missions such as Cassini and GRAIL for over 7 years. She is the lead system engineer in NASA’s Mars mission of searching fossilized signs of microbes on Mars. Apart from this, she is handling the attitude control and landing system and also schedules for GN & C. 

First Images Of Martian Surface

The robotic 6-wheeled vehicle Perseverance of NASA has sent first black and white images from the surface. The $2.7 billion endeavor, Mars rover Perseverance, was launched last year in July 2020 during the pandemic. It took 203 days to rover for completing 293 million miles long journey and reach the Martian surface. 

Not only engineers and scientists of NASA were under the pressure but the tension of carefully landing the rover reached to White House from where US President Joe Biden was watching the live coverage. 

Joe tweeted as soon as the rover stepped on the red planet and congratulated Perseverance team members with his words, “Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.”

It is the most ambitious mission of NASA to investigate ancient life on the Martian surface. 

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