Meet Swati Mohan, Indian American Who Landed The Mars Rover On Red Planet

Meet Swati Mohan, Indian-origin Scientist Behind NASA’s Rover Landing on Mars


  • On Thursday, NASA declared that its Perseverance rover had successfully reached Mars’ surface
  • Indian-American engineer Swati Mohan was one of scientists responsible for the successful landing on February 18 of NASA’s Perseverance rover
  • Dr Mohan has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and completed her MS, PhD in Aeronautics/Astronautics from MIT

On Thursday (local time) after surviving a blazing seven-minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Perseverance rover successfully touched down on the surface of Mars.

The Indian-American Dr Swati Mohan headed the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover among the scientists who are part of this historical mission.

“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” exclaimed Dr. Mohan.

Dr Mohan, cool and composed bindi-clad, was interacting and coordinating between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project’s team in the control room when the world watched the dramatic landing.

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She also looks after the team and schedules the mission control staffing for GN&C, apart from being the lead systems engineer during the development process.

Dr Mohan, a NASA scientist, emigrated to America from India when she was only one year old. She spent most of her childhood in the DC metro area of Northern Virginia-Washington. She was quite amazed at the age of 9, after watching ” Star Trek ” for the first time, by the beautiful depictions of the new regions of the universe that they were exploring. She knew right away that she wanted to do so and “find new and beautiful places in the universe.”

Until she was 16, she wanted to become a paediatrician as well. Her first physics class, however, and the “great teacher” she received, considered “engineering” to be a way to pursue her interest in exploring space.

Dr Mohan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and has completed her MS and PhD in Aeronautics/Astronautics from MIT.

Although she has been a member of the Perseverance Rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, since the beginning, Dr. Mohan has also been part of NASA’s various significant missions.

The Indian-origin scientist has also worked on the Cassini (Saturn mission) and GRAIL projects (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon).

After a 203-day trip across 293 million miles (472 million kilometers), the largest, most advanced rover NASA sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday.

At 3:55 pm (Eastern US time) on Thursday, the agency’s Perseverance rover landed on the Red Planet, bringing an end to the “seven minutes of terror” that saw a fiery atmospheric entry and parachute-assisted descent.

Eight retrorockets were then fired by the landing mechanism of the rover to slow down and guide it to a proper landing spot before using nylon cords to lower it to the surface.

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Swastika Dubey

Swastika Dubey is a content writer who has a keen interest in politics, fashion, and lifestyle. She is a post-graduate in Economics and loves to listen to classic old Hindi songs and travel to new places in her leisure time. Her writing is well researched, covering important aspects and core of the topic covering crucial points.

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