NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover mission is led by a variety of scientists, many of whom are women and ethnic minorities. Adriana Diaz has more stories.
ADRIANA DIAZ: Tonight, we will end with an incredible panorama of Mars captured by NASA’s newest robotic explorer “Perseverance” rover. But it is not Mars that caught our attention, but the mission control system.
SWATI MOHAN: The touchdown has been confirmed.
– This is the voice heard all over the world.
SWATI MOHAN: Persevere unremittingly on the surface of Mars.
SWATI MOHAN: The SkyCrane exercise is about to take place.
– She leads the space control team.
How do you feel when you say the words “confirmation of touchdown”?
SWATI MOHAN: I am still a little shocked.
– Mohan immigrated to the United States from India when he was one year old. She is one of a dozen women of color in the core Perseverance team of about 300.
– Christina, how do you feel when you watch and listen to Swati?
CHRISTINA HERNANDEZ: I thought, yes, girl! I am very happy to see a woman, A, not only has contributed a lot to the community, but she is a technical beast.
– The first generation of Mexican-American engineer Christina Hernandez helped develop the scientific instruments for the rover.
– Half black and half North Korean Moogega Cooper (Moogega Cooper) led the team to ensure that no pollutants are left on Mars.
– There is no perfect team there, do you know? Diversity can always be improved. But man, when I look around and see female leaders and engineers, it warms my heart.
– What does your girl do for NASA?
– Calculate your launch and landing points.
– NASA’s historic struggle for diversity is documented in “hidden figures,” a true story of an African-American female mathematician who played an important role in the space race.
– The generations are not far apart. My father told me about his service in the naval quarantine force. Among all people, I believe that scientists can think beyond what society says, and can tolerate others.
– Diversity is all about different viewpoints. And when you try to solve these complex problems, we need to be able to think outside the box.
– Did any of you meet someone who said you can’t be an engineer or you can’t work for NASA?
– There is always a moment of feeling, in it, you ask, oh, is it because I’m still young? Is it because I am a young woman? Is it because I am a young black woman? However, you just need to keep going to the stars.
– When they grow up, they cannot afford luxury goods like the space camp. But their family found a way.
– If there is no local library, or we don’t have a free PBS, these things can make it accessible regardless of your income.
– These struggles have made our work even better. Like my grandma said, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]. So, as you know, “go all out.” I think that’s what we all do in terms of Martian perseverance.
ADRIANA DIAZ: They said that their greatest passion is helping the next generation.