Who is Dr Swati Mohan? Indian-origin Scientist at NASA helped land Perseverance on Mars.

Swati Mohan mars
Swati Mohan, the Indian-origin woman at NASA who is a part of the team that successfully landed the rover Perseverance on Mars. Here’s all you need to know about her journey. Swati mohan mars
  • Dr. Swati Mohan is heading NASA’s Operations for the Mars 2020 Guidance, Navigation, and Controls (GN&C).
  • Indian-American scientist grew up in the US.
  • At the NASA centre, we could see her wearing a bindi quite often, even when she was leading the landing operation last night.

Dr. Swati Mohan during the crucial minutes before landing (Credits: NASA Youtube)

  • Dr. Swati Mohan came from India to USA when she was just one-year-old.
  • Mohan grew up in Northern Virginia-Washington DC metro area.
  • For her graduation, she did a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and completed her M.S. and PhD in Aeronautics/Astronautics from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Dr Mohan worked on Mars 2020 mission, which took rover named Perseverance to Mars, from almost the beginning of the project, i.e since 2013.

She is currently the Mars 2020 Guidance, Navigation, and Controls Operations Lead, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

  • Moreover, she was the lead systems engineer throughout the project’s development as well as the key communicator between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project’s team.
  • Dr Mohan scheduled the mission control staffing for the department, and is also in-charge of various the policies and procedures the GN&C follows in the mission control room.
  • Swati wanted to be a paediatrician until the age of 16. Although she always interested in space, but she didn’t really know about opportunities to turn that interest into a job. “When I was 16, I took my first physics class. I was lucky enough to have a great teacher, and everything was so understandable and easy. That was when I really considered engineering, as a way to pursue space,” she said.
  • The science-fiction franchise Star Trek inspired her to become a scientist.
  • She was fascinated by the beautiful depictions of the new regions of the universe when she watched her first episode of the show at the age of 9. “I remember thinking ‘I want to do that. I want to find new and beautiful places in the universe.’ The vastness of space holds so much knowledge that we have only begun to learn,” she told.
  • About working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Swati said, “It is an honor and privilege to work at JPL. Every day, there are so many exciting things happening that I am always in constant awe of what we get to do, and see, and learn, and the wonderful, incredibly talented people who make it possible. All the projects at JPL seek to expand human understanding, and are almost always first of a kind in some way. It’s incredibly motivating to work in such an environment.”

Feature Image Credits: NASA