June 14, 2024

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Indian-origin scientist Dr Swati Mohan Leads NASA’s Op Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

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The National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Perseverance rover has successfully touched down the surface of the Mars, on Thursday.

On Thursday, February 18, US ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Perseverance rover has successfully landed on the surface of the Mars. Surviving a blazing seven-minute plunge through the atmosphere, the rover covered 293 million miles in 203 days. Indian-American Dr Swati Mohan is among the scientists who are the part of the historic mission that spearheaded the development of ‘attitude control’ and the landing system for the rover.

“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” exclaimed NASA engineer Dr Swati Mohan.

While the world witnessed the dramatic landing, Dr Mohan was communicating and coordinating between the GN&C subsystem with the rest of the team. she also looks after the team and schedules the mission control staffing for GN&C, apart from being the lead systems engineer during the development process.

Apart from being a member of the Perseverance Rover mission since the beginning of NASA’s Perseverance Rover mission, Dr Mohan has also been a part of various important NASA missions. The Indian-American scientist worked on projects Cassini (a mission to Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon.

The American space agency’s largest and most advanced perseverance rover landed on the Red Planet at 3:55 pm (Eastern US time) on Thursday, bringing an end to the “seven minutes of terror”. The rover’s landing mechanism fired eight retrorockets to slow down and guide it to a proper landing spot before using nylon cords to lower it onto the surface.

Early Life of Dr Mohan

NASA scientist Dr Mohan emigrated to America from India when she was just one-year-old and spent her childhood in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC metro area. After watching ‘Star Strek’ she was astounded by the beautiful depiction of the new regions of the universe and realized she wanted to “find new and beautiful places in the universe”.

Until 16, she wanted to become a pediatrician. However, it was her physics class when she considered “engineering” as a way to pursue her interest in space exploration. The NASA scientists hold a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Cornell University and completed her MS and PhD from MIT in Aeronautics / Astronautics.

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