When the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA’s Perseverance rover made a successful landing on Mars on Thursday, the person behind the guidance, navigation and control operations was an Indian-American scientist, Dr Swati Mohan.
At 3:55 pm Eastern Time (20:55 GMT), Dr Mohan announced, “Touchdown confirmed,” as mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena erupted in cheers with the rover landing successfully on the Red Planet. And soon enough Twiteratis spotted Dr Mohan’s tiny little bindi, which quickly became a talking point on the social media network.
While Dr Mohan’s bindi was the buzz on Twitter, what also stood out was her braid, which she dyed blue for the occasion.
Dr Mohan emigrated to the US from India when she was only one year old and was raised in Northern Virginia and the Washington DC metro area. She completed her bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and her MS and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Aeronautics/Astronautics.
During her career with NASA, Dr Mohan has worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn and GRAIL - a pair of formation flown spacecrafts to the Moon. She has been with the Mars 2020 mission since the beginning in 2013.