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Mars Rover’s “Most Exciting Work” In Coming Weeks: Indian-American Techie

Vishnu Sridhar mentioned a number of the rover’s most fun work shall be performed in coming weeks.(FILE)


Vishnu Sridhar, a 27-year-old Indian-American lead system engineer with NASA’s Perseverance rover, has mentioned that probably the most thrilling work on the awe-inspiring Mars mission will occur within the coming weeks.

Mr Sridhar, who’s from Queens, New York, is a lead system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, which is on a mission to seek for indicators of previous life on the Red Planet.

He mentioned a number of the rover’s most fun work shall be performed within the coming weeks.

“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,” Mr Sridhar informed ABC7 channel.

SuperCam is a remote-sensing instrument that may use laser spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition of rocks on the Martian floor. It analyses terrain that the rover can’t attain. It is an instrument designed to scan rocks and minerals-from as much as 20 toes away-to decide their chemical make-up.

The Perseverance rover was launched on July 30 final 12 months and efficiently landed on Mars on February 18 this 12 months. The rover, the SuperCam, and its different units collectively will assist scientists seek for clues of previous life on Mars. Its predecessor Curiosity remains to be functioning eight years after touchdown on Mars. The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s newest and most superior mission to seek out proof of previous life on Mars.

Mr Sridhar mentioned it was necessary that the mission was taking place regardless of the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

“NASA missions are clearly trying to explore and answer the basic question. Perseverance is also trying to seek that, and eventually answer the question that was there life on Mars, was there life outside Earth, and it was definitely a tough period for us during COVID-19 and for everyone else around the globe,” he mentioned.

“And that’s why I love the name of Perseverance because we persevered through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we learned a lot about 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,” he mentioned.

Mr Sridhar’s time at JPL over the previous 5 years has been devoted to Mars and is at present the instrument engineer for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Rover.

“Summer 2019 was when instruments came in from France and as been dedicated to Mars and is currently the instrument engineer for SuperCam on the 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,” he reminisced.

The US area company on Monday launched the primary audio from Mars, a faint recording of a gust of wind captured by the Perseverance rover. Perseverance will try to gather 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be despatched again to Earth someday within the 2030s for lab evaluation.

The rover is just the fifth to set its wheels down on Mars. The feat was first achieved in 1997, and all of them have been American. The US is aiming for an eventual human mission to the planet, although planning stays preliminary.

Mr Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park. He graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and has all the time been fascinated by flight and area exploration.

“One of the key events that sparked my interest in space and exploration was watching National Geographic. The Carl Sagan TV show Cosmos,” he mentioned.

According to his NASA profile web page, whereas in elementary faculty he needed to turn out to be a National Geographic photographer and journey the world.

Indian-American girl scientist Swati Mohan had additionally performed a key position in NASA Mars rover touchdown.

Ms Mohan, who leads the steerage, navigation, and management operations of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, was the primary to verify that the rover had efficiently touched down on the Martian floor.

“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,” Ms Mohan introduced, prompting her colleagues at NASA to fist-bump and break into celebrations.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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