NASA’s Perseverance rover recently touched down on the surface of Mars on Thursday (Feb 18th) after seven months in space, it was an Indian-American named Dr Swati Mohan, who first confirmed that the rover had survived a particularly tricky plunge into the Martian atmosphere.
Mohan, who successfully spearheaded the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover, was among the team of scientists behind the historic mission. The attitude control system is responsible for pointing the rover in the direction it needs to be and also helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.
The Cornell graduate has been associated with the Perseverance Mars Mission since its inception and has been part of a number of other NASA missions over the years. Notably, she also worked on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn.
NASA scientist first emigrated from India to the United States when she was just a year old. Most of her childhood was spent in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC area. Mohan traces her love for space back to the American science fiction series Star Trek, which she first watched at the age of 9. While she wanted to become a paediatrician until she was 16, she later decided to become an engineer and pursue her interest in space exploration.