Vishnu Sridhar is the lead systems engineer for the SuperCam on the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance.
Indian American Vishnu Sridhar was part of the team that helped engineer the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars rover Perseverance. Sridhar is the lead systems engineer for the SuperCam on the Mars 2020 rover that landed on the red planet on February 19.
In a report in Gothamist, Sridhar said: “One of the key events that sparked my interest in space and exploration was watching National Geographic. The Carl Sagan TV show Cosmos, too—that really sparked my interest in human exploration and exploring our solar system.” He added that his grandfather who was a civil engineer and built trains and dams in India was also an inspiration.
The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s latest and most advanced mission to find evidence of past life on Mars. The SuperCam is a device to scan rocks and minerals to find their chemical makeup thereby allowing the rover to study parts of the terrain that it may not be able to physically reach.
The Gothamist reported that Sridhar said: “Summer 2019 was when instruments came in from France and Los Alamos and when we physically integrated SuperCam with the Perseverance rover. That’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life, to have touched and worked on a piece of hardware that’s on its way to Mars.”
While talking to WABC-TV, Shridhar said: “We’re going to be taking more images of Mars, we’re going to be shooting lasers with the SuperCam instrument, we’re going to be recording audio with our microphone, and eventually, soon in near future, we are going to deploy our helicopter, and do the first powered flight on Mars.”
Sridhar also told WABC-TV that he loves the name “Perseverance.” He said: “I love the name of Perseverance because we persevered through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we learned a lot how to do engineering remotely. And we went through all that we learned and now we are successful on Mars and it’s a great achievement for humankind.”
Sridhar is a native of Queens. New York and attended Aviation High School in Queens.