A woman landing on Mars
“Touchdown confirmed,” she announced to roaring applause from mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life.”
You might have seen her in the front row of the control room, bindi on her forehead, providing constant updates to the team as mission commentator for the historic landing. But before that nail-biting moment, Mohan had been working for years to make it all happen.
Mohan, an Indian American who moved to the United States when she was a year old, is the guidance and controls operations lead for the Perseverance rover mission, acting as the “eyes and ears” for NASA’s most sophisticated spacecraft to date.
Not only is Mohan a pivotal player in the effort to determine whether there was ever life on the red planet; she’s also a reflection of the progress NASA has made in reflecting the nation it represents.