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Indian-American scientist Swati Mohan played a vital role in NASA’s Mars Rover landing

Swati said that her function in the cruise process to Mars was to learn how the spacecraft is focused and to ensure it is properly indicated in space – the "solar arrays to the sun, antenna to Earth, and manoeuvre the spacecraft to get it where we want to go".

Indian-American scientist Swati Mohan is the first to say ‘ Confirm Touchdown for NASA’ Mars Rover landing. Read the full story below.

The US space agency, NASA rover landed on Martian surface and a woman’s voice that said: ‘Confirm touchdown!’ was none other than an Indian-American scientist Swati Mohan who heads the management, navigation, and control of NASA’s Mars 2020 who heads the management, navigation, and control of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission.

Swati Mohan’s role in NASA’s Mars Rover landing

She was the first to announce that, after quite a particularly tricky dive via the red planet’s atmosphere, the rover successfully reached the Martian surface.

“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,” Swati Mohan said.

Mohan, who emigrated from India to the US when she was only a year old, said the Guidance, Navigation, and Controls Operations (GN&C) are the “eyes and ears” of the spacecraft.

The guide, navigation and control operations (GN&C) are the spacecraft’s eyes and ears, Mohan, who has relocated from India to the US when she was just one year old.

Swati said that her function in the cruise process to Mars was to learn how the spacecraft is focused and to ensure it is properly indicated in space – the “solar arrays to the sun, antenna to Earth, and manoeuvre the spacecraft to get it where we want to go”.

“Seven minutes of terror,” she said adding  GN&C decides the spacecraft’s location and manoeuvres to support its land safely.

“As the team’s operations lead, I am the primary point of communication between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project.

“I am responsible for the training of the GN&C team, scheduling the mission control staffing for GN&C, as well as the policies/procedures the GN&C uses in the mission control room,” she said.

Swati Mohan’s Journey

She graduated from Cornell University in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering with her M.S. and was brought up in the subway zone of northern Virginia-Washington DC.

PhD in aeronautics/astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

During her NASA career, Mohan has acted as a pioneer of the Mars 2020 mission to the Saturn and GRAIL, a spacecraft that flew into the Sky, after it was launched in 2013.

Mohan said she got interested in space after watching the popular TV show “Star Trek” when she was nine.

“Seeing the beautiful depictions of the new regions of the universe that they were exploring. I remember thinking ‘I want to do that.

I want to find new and beautiful places in the universe.’ The vastness of space holds so much knowledge that we have only begun to learn,” she told NASA.

When Mohan took her first physics class when she was 16, she further expanded her love for space.

“I was lucky enough to have a great teacher, and everything was so understandable and easy. That was when I considered engineering, as a way to pursue space,” she added.

Indians are proud of Swati Mohan’s role in NASA’s Mars Rover landing

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