“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” NASA engineer Dr Swati Mohan bellowed with excitement. Meet the Indian-American Dr Swati Mohan who spearheaded the landing operations of rover on mars.
When the world looked upon the historic landing, in the control room, calm and composed sat the bindi-clad Dr Mohan. She was busy communicating and coordinating between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project’s team. Swati looks after the team and schedules the mission control staffing for GN&C apart from being the lead systems engineer.
She emigrated from India to America when she was just one-year-old. At the age of 9, after having watched ”Star Trek” for the first time, she was quite astounded by the beautiful depictions of the new regions of the universe. From then, she wanted to become an explorer, an explorer beyond the Earth and among the stars.
At her young age, she also wanted to become a pediatrician. However, her first physics class and the “great teacher” she received helped her realise her aptitude. She pursued her interest in space exploration. Dr Mohan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and she has also completed her MS and PhD from MIT in Aeronautics/Astronautics. Dr Mohan has also been a part of various important missions of NASA including projects Cassini (a mission to Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon).