While the world witnessed the historic arrival of NASA’s Perseverance rover on the face of Martian, it was the Indian-American scientist, Swati Mohan, a lady who led the pilot, navigation, and also the control of Mars 2020 missile operations.
Mohan also confirmed that the rover has survived a deceptive fall especially in the Martian atmosphere.
“Touchdown has confirmed,” said Mohan, who moved from India to the United States when he was just one year old.
He says Guidance, Navigation, and Controls Operations (GN & C) are the “eyes and ears” of the universe.
Growing up in North Virginia and Washington DC, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and M.S. and Ph.Ds from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Aeronautics / Astronautics.
While doing his job with NASA, Mohan worked on Cassini’s missions to Saturn and GRAIL – a spacecraft to the Moon, and has been a major pillar of Mars 2020’s work since its inception in 2013.
According to Mohan, his interest in space rose after watching the popular TV show Star Trek at the age of nine.
She told NASA that she sees beautiful paintings of the new regions of the world they were exploring. She says that she remembers thinking that she want to do that. She want to find new and beautiful places in the universe.’ The size of the universe contains so much information that we have just begun to study.
Mohan noticed that his love of space increased exponentially while studying his first class of physics.
She added saying that he was lucky enough to have a good teacher, and everything was understandable and simple. He said that that’s when she really thought of engineering, as a way to track space.
Commenting on his team’s role in the current missions, Mohan said that during the voyage to Mars, their job is to determine the orientation of the spacecraft, and to ensure that it is properly aligned in space to go there. “
He said that during the “seven minutes of panic” that led to the landing, descent and landing on Mars, GN&C determined the location of the spacecraft and instructed its passengers to help it stay safe.
As the team’s activities take the lead, she says that she is at the heart of the GN&C sub-program and the rest of the project.
“I am responsible for training the GN&C team, organizing the staff managing the GN&C mission, and the policies / procedures used by GN & C in the machine control room,” Mohan noted.