Indian American Dr Swati Mohan leads NASA’s Perseverance rover mission


Dr Swati Mohan (Image Source: Twitter)

Dr Swati Mohan is the Guidance, Navigation and Controls (GN&C)  Operations Engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 

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

On Thursday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars after it faced a blazing seven-minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere. Indian American Dr Swati Mohan is part of the Perseverance mission as she spearheaded the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover. 

The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s latest and most advanced mission to find evidence of past life on Mars. It landed on Mars at 3:55 pm (Eastern US time) Thursday after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles. The landing brought an end to a “seven minutes of terror” with a fiery atmospheric entry and parachute-assisted descent.

Mohan was the lead systems engineer during the development process and takes care of the team and schedules the mission control staffing for GN&C. In the control room, people watched the dramatic landing while Mohan was communicating and coordinating between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project’s team.

While Mohan has been a part of the Perseverance rover mission since the start at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, she has also been a member of other NASA missions. She worked on projects Cassini (a mission to planet Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon). Mohan completed her BSc in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and did her MS and PhD from MIT in Aeronautics/Astronautics.

Mohan emigrated from India to the United States when she was one-year-old and lived in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC metro area for most of her childhood.

Also Read: NASA announces Indian American Bhavya Lal as Acting Chief of Staff

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