As NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover, with its mini helicopter ‘Ingenuity’ at Jezero Crater, approaches its landing today, meet Dr. Swati Mohan – the person leading the development of attitude control and the Mars 2020 rover’s landing system.
Dr. Mohan had earlier worked on various missions, including Cassini (mission to Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon).
According to her profile at NASA, Swati Mohan had moved to the United States from India when she was one year old. Raised in the Northern Virginia / Washington DC metro area, Dr. Mohan completed her B.S. from Cornell University in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; M.S. and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Aeronautics/Astronautics.
“Actually, I wanted to be a pediatrician until I was about 16 years old,” she says. “I was always interested in space, but I 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.”