Perseverance rover’s exciting work to happen in coming weeks: NASA’s Indian-American engineer

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

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 among the rover’s most exciting work can be finished in 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,” Sridhar advised ABC7 channel.

SuperCam is a remote-sensing instrument that can 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 up to 20 toes away�to decide their chemical make-up.

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

Sridhar mentioned it was vital that the mission was occurring regardless of the continuing 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.

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 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 house 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 in the 2030s for lab evaluation.

The rover is simply 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.

Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park. He graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and has at all times been fascinated by flight and house exploration.

One of the important thing occasions that sparked my curiosity in house and exploration was watching National Geographic. The Carl Sagan TV present Cosmos, he mentioned.

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

NASA’s Swati Mohan was the primary to verify that the rover had efficiently touched down on the Martian floor. (Image: Twitter/MKStalin)

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

Mohan, who leads the steering, 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,” Mohan introduced, prompting her colleagues at NASA to fist-bump and break into celebrations.

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