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Accomplishing the riskiest step so far, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Perseverance Rover landed on Mars on Friday in a quest to find out whether life ever existed on the planet.
The historic mission was accomplished by a team of scientists spearheaded by an Indian-American NASA engineer—Dr Swati Mohan.
"Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life," exclaimed Dr Swati Mohan.
Mohan is a lead systems engineer and she also looks after the team and schedules the mission control staffing for the guidance, navigation, and control subsystem (GN&C).
Mohan's family emigrated from India to America when she was just one-year-old. Most of her childhood was spent in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC metro area. When she was 16, she wanted to become a pediatrician.
However, her fate took her to NASA. She receives her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and completed her MS and PhD from MIT in Aeronautics/Astronautics.
Besides being a member of the historic Perseverance Rover mission, she has also been a part of various other important missions of NASA.
She has worked on multiple missions such as Cassini (mission to Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon).
Mohan is currently working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.