Swati Mohan (Image: NASA Mars website)
As the world watched the new NASA rover touchdown on the Martian surface, it was Indian American Swati Mohan who virtually spearheaded the successful landing of Perseverance, an SUV-sized rover, which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet.
Mohan, who has been a member of the Perseverance Rover mission since its inception, said that none of it would have been possible without diversity.
Also read: NASA's Perseverance rover lands on Mars to look for signs of ancient life
"Everyone built from the strengths of one another, so the capability of the full team was more than the sum of the individual people," she told Times of India.
Speaking about the influence of being Indian-born, Mohan said, "I was a year old when I moved from India to the US. My parents raised me with very strong Indian values. I am Indian as much as I am American."
Read: Meet Swati Mohan, Indian-American scientist on the Mars Rover landing team
We were able to take the best of both worlds and integrate it into who we are, she added.
"Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life," Mohan had said, wearing a mask from the NASA headquarters in the US.
Mohan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and completed her MS and PhD from MIT in Aeronautics/Astronautics.
In Pics: Dr Swati Mohan sports bindi as she confirms touchdown of Nasa Mars Rover Perseverance
The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world, touched down on Mars on February 18, after a 203-day journey traversing 472 million km.
The Mars 2020 mission was launched on July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The Perseverance rover mission marks an ambitious first step in the effort to collect Mars samples and return them to Earth.