Man from Queens playing key role in Mars rover mission

NEW YORK (WABC) — A man from Queens is part of the team of engineers at NASA behind the awe-inspiring mission to Mars by the rover Perseverance.

Vishnu Sridhar, 27, is the lead systems engineer for the SuperCam on the rover.

The rover landed safely on the Red Planet last week. The SuperCam will analyze terrain the rover cannot reach.

Sridhar says some of the rover’s most exciting work will happen in the next few weeks.

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“We’re going to be taking more images of Mars, we’re going to be shooting lasers with the SuperCam instrument, we’re going to be recording audio with our microphone, and eventually, soon in near future, we are going to deploy our helicopter, and do the first powered flight on Mars,” Sridhar said.

Sridhar said it’s important that the mission is happening despite the COVID pandemic.

“NASA missions are obviously trying to explore and answer the fundamental questions and Perseverance is also trying to seek that, and eventually answer the question, was there life on Mars, was that was their life outside, Earth, and it was definitely a tough period for us during COVID and for everyone else around the globe,” he said. “And that’s why I love the name of Perseverance because we persevered through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we learned a lot how to do engineering remotely. And we went through all that we learned and now we are successful on Mars and it’s a great achievement for humankind.”

Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park.

He says he always had a fascination with flight and space exploration.

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