The exciting work of Perseverance rover in the coming weeks: NASA’s Indian-American engineer

The exciting work of Perseverance rover in the coming weeks: NASA’s Indian-American engineer

Vishnu Sridhar, a 27-year-old Indian-American chief systems engineer with NASA’s Perseverance rover, has said the most exciting work on the awe-inspiring Mars mission will take place in the coming weeks.

Hailing from Queens, New York, Sridhar is a chief systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, looking for signs of a past life on the Red planet.

He said the robber’s most exciting work will be done in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to take more pictures of Mars, we’re going to shoot lasers with the SuperCam instrument, we’re going to record audio with our microphone and finally, soon in the future, we’re going to put in our helicopter and make the first powered flight on Mars,” Sridhar told ABC7 channel.

SuperCam is a remote sensing instrument that will use laser spectroscopy to analyze the chemical composition of rocks on the surface of Mars. It analyzes terrain that the rover cannot reach. It is an instrument designed to scan rocks and minerals – up to 20 feet away – to determine their chemical composition.

The Perseverance rover launched on July 30 last year and landed successfully on Mars on February 18 this year. The rover, the SuperCam, and its other devices together will help scientists search for clues to past life on Mars. Its predecessor Curiosity is still functional eight years after landing on Mars. The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s latest and most advanced mission to find evidence of past life on Mars.

Sridhar said it was important for the mission to take place despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

NASA missions are clearly trying to investigate and answer the fundamental question. Perseverance tries to look for that too and eventually answer the question that there was life on Mars, was there life outside of Earth, and it was definitely a rough time for us during COVID-19 and everyone else around the world, ” he said. .

And that’s why I love the name Persistence, because we’ve been through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we’ve learned a lot about how to do engineering remotely. And we’ve been through everything we’ve learned and now we’re successful on Mars and it’s a great achievement for humanity, ”he said.

Sridhar’s time at JPL over the past five years has been devoted to Mars and is currently the instrument engineer for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Rover.

In the summer of 2019 instruments came in from France and Los Alamos and when we physically integrated SuperCam with the Perseverance rover. That’s something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life, touching and working on a piece of hardware that is on its way to Mars, ”he recalled.

The US space agency released the first audio of Mars on Monday, a faint recording of a gust of wind picked up by the Perseverance rover. Persistence will try to collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes that will be returned to Earth for laboratory analysis sometime in the 2030s.

The rover is only the fifth to set its wheels on Mars. The feat was first accomplished in 1997 and they were all American. The US is pursuing an eventual human mission to the planet, although planning remains tentative.

Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park. He graduated in Aerospace Engineering in Georgia Tech and has always been fascinated by flight and space exploration.

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

According to his NASA profile page, he wanted to become a National Geographic photographer in elementary school and travel the world.

Indian-American female scientist Swati Mohan had also played a key role in the landing of NASA’s Mars rover.

Mohan, who leads, navigates, and controls NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, was the first to confirm that the rover had successfully hit the surface of Mars.

Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin looking for signs of a past life, ”announced Mohan, prompting her colleagues at NASA to bump fists and celebrate.

(This story was not edited by our editorial team and was generated from a feed.)

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